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Subtweeting: Inside the Harmful New Social Media Trend

By Steven Woda on June 13, 2014 at 11:36 AM

One of the more insidious digital trends for tweens and teens has been the development of subtweeting. While this may sound like an innocent social media fad, this impression could not be further from the truth. Among digital trends for tweens, this is one of the worst because it is a form of cyberbullying that can be difficult to pin down and combat.

What is Subtweeting?

Subtweeting consists of using social media (Twitter being one example that inspired the name) to talk negatively about or gossip about a person without naming that individual specifically. All that people involved have to do is use descriptions, characterization or some sort of code to discuss the person with impunity. In some cases, this happens without the participants even realizing what they are doing.

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Why Yik Yak is the Most Dangerous App You Have Never Heard of

By Tim Woda on May 31, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Mobile smartphones and the internet have changed the way we interact in unprecedented ways. While there is no denying the many benefits of this, the drawbacks are also clear. This has especially become apparent in the world of teenagers and younger children. Cyberbullying is one of the worst culprits, and has spread through the country's cities and schools at an alarming rate.

Social media has taken the age-old problem of bullying and turned it into something even worse than it already was. No child is immune to this problem, and although it seems to be at its most prevalent in high schools, middle-school and even elementary school kids are impacted.

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Rihanna Joins Cyberbullies in Mocking Fan on Twitter

By Steven Woda on May 15, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Many celebrities and public figures have experienced cyberbullying in the past. Ciara once wrote an angry letter to her cyberbullies, Minnie Driver recently quit Twitter after being taunted about her vacation photos, and even Olympic athletes have been ridiculed online. A story we don't hear about often: a celebrity participating in cyberbullying.

Sixteen-year-old Alexis Carter was excited to dress up as one of her favorite celebrities Rihanna for a Hollywood-themed prom. Before the event, she posted photos of her dress, which mirrored a previous dress worn by Rihanna. She had a great time taking the pictures and was complimented throughout the night.

However, since prom other kids have been making fun of her outfit relentlessly through social media site Twitter. The hashtag #PromBat began trending and, before she knew it, Rihanna herself had commented negatively about the teen's outfit.

Fox Baltimore reports,

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A Safe Selfie App that Promotes Positivity? Introducing: Shots

By Steven Woda on April 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

With all of the negativity that can generate in so many apps (cyberbullying from Ask.fm, anonymous secret-sharing apps), it's about time that an app that encourages positivity takes the headlines. This article was originally published on Yahoo Tech by Tech Columnist Dan Tynan.

Don’t look now, but your teenage daughter may be taking Shots. I’m not talking about Jack Daniel’s; I mean Shots, a mobile social network built entirely around selfies. The site is best known for the identity of one of its angel investors, a 20-year-old named Bieber.

Regardless of what you think of Mr. Bieber, the selfie-centric social network his name is attached to is a solid project that can encourage network building and sharing among young people, while at the same time discouraging the most typical of hurtful behaviors seen on many other social services. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good.

Today, the 6-month-old startup announced that it now has 1 million members, three-quarters of them females between the ages of 13 and 24. It celebrated by adding a new feature, the ability to reply to someone’s selfie with one of your own.

Getting Bullish on Bullies

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Even Olympic Athletes Aren't Immune from Cyberbullying

By Tim Woda on February 19, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Check out this piece about how olympic athlete Elise Christie overcame Twitter cyberbullying and fall in 500-meter final to win 1,000-meter heat. It was originally published on Yahoo! Sports.

The past week has been a whirlwind for British speedskater Elise Christie. In the 500-meter short track final, Christie crashed and took out Park Seung-hi, a Korean star in the sport.

As a result of her fall, Christie told Sports Illustrated that she received “a couple of thousand messages that were negative” on social media, many of which came from Korea. These messages were tough for Christie.

“I spent the last few days feeling quite down and struggling psychologically,” Christie said. “I came in yesterday and was quite emotional.”

Not only did she lose her chance at gold in the 500 by crashing, she also was disqualified in the 1500 for “a technicality” that her coach called a “s--- thing.”

To avoid the ongoing ugliness directed at her on Twitter, Christie suspended her own account, but then the story of the negative tweets directed toward her circulated in Britain, and thousands of Brits tweeted their support her boyfriend, fellow speedskater Jack Whelbourne. On top of that turnaround, the speedskating communities in Britain and Korea both showed their support for her.

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Artist's Selfie Project Shines Light on Cyberbullying

By Steven Woda on February 4, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Check out the inspiring article below, originally published on Yahoo!, about one woman who is turning cyberbullying on its head. And make sure to follow this link to see the awesome video! 

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Cyberbullying: The Face Behind the Screen

By Tim Woda on February 2, 2014 at 2:14 PM

This article was originally published on Psychology Today by Raychelle Cassandra Lohmann.

Laura sat at her laptop still steaming mad from the incident that had happened earlier with Michelle.  "I'll show her!" she thought.  Just then, Laura had an idea...  "I can set up a bogus email account and create a fake Facebook page.  I'll put Michelle in her place without her even knowing who did it."  After a setting up her new identity, Laura became "Julie".  Pleased with herself Julie launched a full blown cyber attack on her once friend Michelle.  "See if she ever messes with me again", Julie laughed.  On the other end of the computer, Michelle sat with her mouth gaping open.  She couldn't believe what she was reading.  "Who's Julie?" she thought.  "What did I do to her?"  Michelle's heart was beating fast and tears began to stream down her face. 

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Cyberbullying Versus Traditional Bullying

By Tim Woda on January 24, 2014 at 4:54 PM

This article is from Psychology today and compares traditional bullying with cyberbullying.

Just how different is traditional bullying from cyberbullying? Studies are beginning to show that the way youth bully online is a lot different from traditional schoolyard bullying. Teens may think what they are posting or texting is just a joke, but if you're on the receiving end it may not be all that funny. In fact, if the "joking" is repetitive, it could cross the line into bullying, more specifically cyberbullying. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics cyberbullying is the "most common online risk for all teens and is a peer to peer risk."

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21 Powerful Tips To Prevent Kids Cyberbullying

By Tim Woda on January 22, 2014 at 12:11 PM

This article was originally posted on BlogHer and written by WomenLoveTech.

I get sick in the stomach when I read about teenagers taking their own lives after extensive online bullying. Nearly 80% of kids under 10 use social media. I urge you to take cyberbullying seriously. The Internet is a great place to learn, to be entertained, to share and communicate, but not a place for bullying.

Up to 35 percent of 8 to 11 year olds have their own mobile phone, rising to 94 per cent of 16 to 17 year olds. Children and young people are increasingly gaining access to the internet via their mobiles, yet only a very small percentage have discussed cybersafety with their parents.

I hope these 21 powerful tips to prevent kids cyberbullying will guide you and will help your kids. Please share this list with them.

1. Do not respond to any cyberbullying message, block the person and tell a trusted person.

2. When you are upset, walk away from your computer or your smartphone.

3. Do not write anything against another person, one day you will regret it but it will be too late.

4. Do not share with anyone (except parents) your passwords, your BFF is not an exception.

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Ciara Writes an Open Letter to Cyberbullies

By Steven Woda on January 17, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Even famous celebrities are taking notice of cyberbullying.

I used to sometimes like visiting some of the blog sites to see what new things are happening in the world! Things like cool photos, current events, etc. But nowadays it seems like there's a competition with sites on "Who Can Tear Someone Down the Most." The stories are going from cool and creative to pure drama. Even the comment sections are beginning to get out of control and people are using the platforms to exercise a false sense of power. Singer Ciara wrote an open letter to cyberbullies on her blog. Check it out!

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8 Scary Social Networking Sites Every Parent Should Know

By Tim Woda on November 2, 2013 at 1:06 PM

This article was orginally posted on the Huffington Post by Michael Gregg, COO of Superior Solutions.

If you think you're hip to your children's online social habits because you know all about Facebook and Twitter, you've got it all wrong. Tweens and teens are increasingly leaving these sites in favor of new apps that offer richer features and a safe haven from watchful parents.

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5 Things Adults Need to Know About Cyberbullying

By Steven Woda on October 7, 2013 at 5:32 PM

 This article was originally posted on the Huffington Post by Signe Whitson.

 According to a recent study by the Cyberbullying Research Center, approximately 20% of kids aged 11-18 say they have been victims of online aggression. In a world of catastrophic headlines and sensational sound bites, these numbers don't actually sound so bad, but take the time talk to any school-aged technology user (read: just about any tween or teen that you meet on the street) and you will no doubt gather that the danger posed by cyberbullying is not in the breadth of its perpetrators and victims, but rather in the depth of damage that online aggression can cause. Just what is it that makes cyberbullying so bad?

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Download uKnowKids' Newest eBook Now!

By Tim Woda on September 17, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Your child has likely started back to school, which means new pens, pencils, binders and textbooks, but it also means new opportunities for digital dangers and threats. Is your child prepared to handle the back to school battle of juggling technology and learning? Are they prepared to combat cyberbullying or sexting pressures? 

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Are People Being Cyberbullied on Twitter?

By Tim Woda on September 11, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Check out this article on NoBullying.com about how Twitter provides a unique platform for bullying.

It seems that the bullying, harassment and abuse that occurs on the social networking platform Twitter, one of the most popular social networking platforms in the world that’s meant to bring people together, has sadly become a common occurrence – it’s expected. As bad as the abuse has been over the past several years, it also seems that it’s escalating these days with racism, bomb threats, sexual and violent threats against women, etc.

Twitter has had a system in place to reduce bullying and harassment, but it’s just not effective and doesn’t work. The current system in place allows users to fill out a “report abuse” form, but this clearly doesn’t work. We see the abuse every day on Twitter. You don’t have to look hard to find it, all you have to do is click on something that’s currently trending or receiving negative feedback in the news and you’ll see massive amounts of profanity, bullying and threats.

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Cyberbullying: Why Spillit Needs To Be On Your Radar

By Steven Woda on July 17, 2013 at 5:12 PM

The internet and mobile devices are continually evolving. New applications and websites are developed each day and shared with the world. While many fade into obscurity or into their niche worlds, others truly take off and become more than just another app. While many of these trendier applications are meant for good, their impact and effects can be very detrimental and harmful. One of the newest applications available is known as Spillit, an application that has become as much about cyber-bullying as it has social connection. The following explains more about this new application and why parents, adults, and children should all be aware of its potential dangers.

What Is It?

Spillit is an application that has users create a login name and password to participate on the site. The ultimate goal of the page is to ask other users what they think about that individual. With a limited number of characters, other frequenters to a user’s page can answer the question. This is meant to help learn about each other and create a social connection via the page.

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Cyberbullying on Facebook: How Parental Monitoring Can Prevent It

By Tim Woda on June 21, 2013 at 3:04 PM

It's a common question when kids start hitting their tween years. They begin to grow larger friend groups, become more entwined with their social circles, and form new connections. They're beginning to develop some independence from mom and dad, and with that, the question always comes up: "Mom, Dad, can I make a facebook?"

Of course, this begs the question from moms and dads everywhere: How do I prevent cyberbullying? After all, today's news is rife of stories of children using the internet to harass one another, sometimes to the point where young lives are lost. It's a reasonable fear, and a difficult question to answer. The answer, of course, is to monitor your children's facebook page to ensure that communications are appropriate. Of course, there is always a balance between monitoring your children and giving them some level of independence.

The act of monitoring your child's social media accounts is not an unusual one, either. According to the LA times, almost two thirds of American parents monitor their children on facebook, and with good reason. In an era where the internet gives anonymity to almost anyone, kids are liable to make poor decisions. The worry isn't just that your child will be bullied, either. There is just as big a concern that your child will become the bully.

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Cyberbullying Makes Its Way To Instagram

By Tim Woda on May 1, 2013 at 1:08 PM

It was only a matter of time: cyberbullying has come to Instagram.

In only one of the most recent incidents, a police report was filed against several girls in a northern California school district for cyberbullying on Instagram.  According to school officials several girls allegedly hacked into their victim’s Instagram account, then posted demeaning and “sexually derogatory information” on the twelve-year old’s account.  The victim’s mother believes the girls took this action to get back at her daughter after she complained about being bullied at school.  It took filing a police report to get the offensive material removed.

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Cyberbullying Watch: Everything You Need to Know About Ask.fm

By Tim Woda on April 22, 2013 at 3:04 PM

The Age of Digital Parenting

Parenting kids in this modern age comes with challenges that our own parents never had to face. The advent of the internet presents modern parents and their children with unlimited opportunities, both good and bad. One of the main challenges that you face as a modern parent is keeping your child safe online. That makes knowledgeable digital parenting one of the most important components of being a responsible parent these days. The tween and teen years have always been fraught with angst, raw emotion, and social upheaval; it's just a natural part of making the transition from child to adult, but the internet has created a new level of trouble for this already fragile time. 

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4 Steps to End Facebook Bullying

By Steven Woda on October 23, 2012 at 7:59 AM

There are lots of ways to bully someone online, but social networks are the most effective and most devastating way to go about it. And Facebook, the most popular social network of all, is a prime favorite for cyberbullies. Does your child know what to do if bullied on Facebook?

93% of teens who have witnessed cruel behavior online say that most of the harassment took place on Facebook. If your tween or teen has a Facebook account, they should know these 4 things to do if they become a victim of Facebook bullying

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“Blocking” vs. “Unfriending” Facebook Bullies/Cyberbullies

By Steven Woda on October 22, 2012 at 10:12 AM

43% of kids say they've been bullied online and kids say that 93% of the cruel behavior they see online is on Facebook. Your child's first line of defense should be unfriending bullies or blocking them – but which is most appropriate, and what's the difference between the two? 

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