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The Impact of Cyberbullying on Young Children

By Tim Woda on January 6, 2015 at 11:14 AM

There have been extensive efforts in the 21st century to limit bullying, particularly in schools. Parents now understand how detrimental bullying can be for young children and are trying to put an end to it.

Unfortunately, the emergence of the Internet and social media makes this task quite difficult. The anonymity and speed of the Internet makes bullying too convenient. Parents have to constantly be on the lookout as to what their children are doing online and practice mobile and Internet child safety. Simple conversations can quickly turn into inappropriate behavior that can have long-lasting effects on a child's mental health.

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Cyberbullying on Sports Teams: It Happens More Than You Think

By Tim Woda on December 8, 2014 at 12:58 PM

The threat of cyberbullying isn't limited to any one group of kids. Students in the chess club are just as likely to be a victim of cyberbullying as students on the football team. If you don't believe that, then take a look at the story below. 

KTTC News reported a case of cyberbullying at a local high school in Minnesota. In this case, members of the football team were caught engaging in cyberbullying. Here are some points from the case:

  • Football coaches at Southwest High School heard about instances of cyberbullying

  • Several players who engaged in cyberbullying were benched for a must-win game

  • The principal of the high school said cyberbullying can be more damaging than traditional bullying

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Cyberbullying and Tweens: What to Do When Your Child Is the Bully

By Tim Woda on October 28, 2014 at 2:17 PM

No parent wants to imagine their child as a bully but the sad fact is that it happens sometimes. When you first find out it’s your tween doing the bullying, it can be a bit devastating. Upon learning something like this, parents must take a few minutes to gather their thoughts and create a plan of action to help the offender see the error of their ways. 

It’s important to realize that being a bully doesn’t make your child a bad person or you a bad parent. However, cyberbullying is serious and something that you must deal with immediately. Don’t ignore the problem and hope it will go away on its own because things normally get worse without intervention.

Talk to your child about the situation but be calm when you do and don't let your emotions get the better of you. It's important to focus all of your attention on your child, not on your own anger or disappointment. It's imperative to to learn what is going on in youd kid's mind and determine what is motivating them to be a bully. Understanding why it’s happening will help you find ways to deal with the problem.

What to Do When Your Tween Is a Cyberbully

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Roundup: This Week’s Top Digital Parenting News

By Tim Woda on October 10, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Get the latest and greatest on the top digital parenting news and stories of the week!

This week: cyberbullying escalates during the transition from elementary to middle school (shocker!), parents are encouraging kids to pursue careers in digital fields, and a texting-while-driving tracking device is in production. Check out the news roundup and join the conversation in the comment section below.

Students Experience Increase in Cyberbullying During Elementary to Middle School Transition

A study that was recently published in School Psychology Quarterly found that students increasingly become targets of cyberbullying during the transition from elementary school to middle school. The study took place in the Midwest and examined three semesters of data following 1,180 students.

The study categorized students who were bullied into 4 groups:

  • 29% were occasional victims of traditional bullying (verbal or physical bullying)

  • 10% were occasional victims of traditional bullying and cyberbullying

  • Half of bullied students were infrequent victims

  • 11% of bullied students were frequent victims

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Understanding Cyberbullying: Why It Happens and How To Prevent It

By Tim Woda on June 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Recently, the media has exploded with tragic stories and consequences of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as bullying that occurs over electronic devices, often through texting, email or through social media websites such as Facebook. Bullies can send hurtful messages to other children, post embarrassing pictures of their peers on facebook, or send hateful email messages.

Cyberbullying takes on the same form as face to face bullying. The cyberbully will have a clear intent to harm the victim (either emotionally or by threatening them with physical harm), perceivable aggression in the messages, and a perceived or obvious imbalance of power over the victim by the cyberbully.

The abuse that children endure at the hands of cyberbullies leave many parents, teachers, and guardians wondering what causes the bullying to happen in the first place. Cyberbullies engage in harmful behaviors towards their peers for many reasons:

  • The cyberbully wants to feel powerful

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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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New Anti-Cyberbullying Bill: Will it Change How Bullies are Charged?

By Tim Woda on April 29, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Recently, the state of Florida is moving to extend and add some teeth to its anti-cyberbullying law. The new legislation is inspired by the suicide of a 12-year-old girl Rebecca Ann Sedwick after having been alleged to have been cyberbullies by two other girls, who remain unidentified because they are minors, in the town of Lakeland. The Florida state Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice has advanced the bill.

Currently cyberbullying is a crime in Florida, but there are no criminal penalties attached. The proposed legislation would align cyberbullying with the physical kind. It would make both cyberbullying and physical bullying a second degree misdemeanor and aggravated cyberbullying a first degree misdemeanor, subject to a jail term of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.

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Superintendent Viciously Cyberbullied By Students

By Steven Woda on April 19, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Clearly, the negative effects of cyberbullying are not limited to just teens and kids. Find out what happened when students cyberbullied their Superintendent following his decision about having a snow day. This article was originally published on the Washington Post and is written by Donna St. George and Jennifer Jenkins.

Forecasts for snow in Montgomery County often means a bit of “cyberpleading” — e-mails or tweets that vigorously urge officials to close schools for the day.

That happened during last week’s winter-like weather, but a number of messages to Superintendent Joshua P. Starr did more to offend than persuade. Some used racial epithets. Some used curse words. One threatened to slash Starr’s tires. A few messages mentioned Starr’s family in inappropriate ways, he said.

In all, Starr said, perhaps 10 tweets left him thinking: “Whoa, this is going too far.”

Hoping to spark a conversation across Maryland’s largest school system, Starr e-mailed a letter Friday to the parents of Montgomery’s 151,300 students.

“We need to talk about ‘cybercivility’: how we can help our children grow into responsible and caring adults who interact with one another in a civil, respectful way,” Starr wrote in his letter, which schools officials tweeted, e-mailed to newsletter subscribers and posted online.

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Cyberbullying More Strongly Related to Suicidal Thoughts

By Tim Woda on April 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Children who are bullied are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts than children who are not bullied, and cyberbullying is more closely linked to suicidal thoughts than in-person harassment according to a new study published in JAMA pediatrics. 

Conducted by researchers in the Netherlands, the study analyzed data from 34 other studies involving almost 300,000 participants. Researchers found that students who were bullied were almost twice as likely to consider killing themselves and two and a half times more likely to actually attempt suicide. The higher risk was found among various age groups and affected both genders.

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Long Term Effects Of Bullying On The Victim

By Steven Woda on April 3, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Bullying has often been considered as something that some children experience at some point in their lives. However, with the Internet and smartphones, bullying has been elevated to an extremely sophisticated type of social harassment. New studies are showing that bullying can have negative effects that last long into adulthood.

Loss of Confidence

A single act of bullying can cause diminished self-esteem that can last a lifetime. A child who is bullied feels powerless and their self-identity as a competent person who is able to protect himself in the world becomes wounded.

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My Face Was Used For A Viral Meme

By Tim Woda on April 1, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Earlier we posted about a 6-year-old whose picture was unknowingly taken at Walmart and posted online as a joke. Read a response from a woman who is in the midst of a similar situation. Blogger Helene Sula had no idea that a picture she had originally posted on her blog would end up being used in a politically-based meme and circulated among thousands of people. These unfortunate situations demonstrate how easily an incident can be taken out of context and turn viral by a cyberbully. This article was originally published on Thought Catalog by Helene Sula.

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Kindergarten Girl Becomes Victim of Cyberbullying After Walmart Trip

By Steven Woda on April 1, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Unfortunately, cyberbullies don't discriminate when it comes to the ages of their victims. Read below to learn about how a 6-year-old's trip to Walmart ended disastrously. This article was originally published on WMBF News and was written by Nikki Davidson.

SENECA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An Upstate family is outraged and looking for answers after they say their kindergartner became the victim of cyberbullying.

The family says it all started at the Seneca Walmart, when the young girl's picture was snapped by another customer. They say the man then posted it online to social media as a joke.

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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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Cyberbullies Don't Take Holidays Off: Words Wound

By Steven Woda on December 19, 2013 at 3:57 PM

This article was originally posted on the Huffington Post by Sue Scheff, one of our favorite parenting bloggers. 

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a time when you could power up your electronics -- whether it's your iPad, tablet, PC or cell phone -- and not have to worry about any type of hostile content?

Internet trolls and cyberbullies never take vacations or summer breaks, and they don't recognize holidays.

This holiday season, as cyberbullying and bullying sadly continues, you can give your teens and kids the gift of cyber-armor!

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Download uKnowKids' Newest eBook On This Dangerous New Trend

By Tim Woda on October 30, 2013 at 2:16 PM

If you have turned on the news lately than you have no doubt heard about the tragic trend known as bullycide. Bullycide is the unfortunate link between suicide and bullying, and the young teenagers' names associated with it are all too fresh in our minds.

Tragically, one thing we keep hearing over and over again is that the parent's had no idea what was happening to their children online. So these teens were dealing with merciless cyberbullying with seemingly no one to turn to. 

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4 Ways to Handle Cyberbullying

By Tim Woda on October 27, 2013 at 3:41 PM

DoSomething.org reports students who are cyberbullied have up to nine times higher chances of suicide. Cyberbullying comes in many forms: stalking, harassment and identity theft are three common forms. Self-esteem problems, unwillingness to go to school, and engaging in bullying behavior of their own are signs that your child might be a victim of cyberbullying. If your child has plunging grades and doesn't want to hang out with their friends, it's time to take a look into what's going on in his or her life.

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How to Know and What to Do When Your Child is Being Cyberbullied

By Steven Woda on September 24, 2013 at 11:08 AM

This article originally appeared on FoxBusiness.com, writen by Kate Rogers.

Teasing used to be limited to school recess on the playground, but now it has evolved into a malicious trend among youths on the internet.

As technology advances and more children are using it, they are increasingly exposed to cyberbullies on social networking sites like Facebook (FB) and Twitter, and texting and apps on phones and tablets. And the consequences can be devastating. For some children being targeted, like 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick in Miami, they see no other way out of this cruel cyber world, than to take their own lives.

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Ask.fm a Breeding Ground for Cyberbullying

By Tim Woda on August 18, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Cyberbullying is not a new concept. Parents around the world understand the importance of monitoring their child's use of the internet, but the constant evolution of social media sites creates an abundance of obstacles for even the most diligent parent. Teenagers have the tendency to stay one step ahead of adults when it comes to finding new avenues of peer interaction on the internet. One dangerous social networking site that many parents may not be aware of is Ask.fm. 

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Study Finds Links Between Cyberbullying and Adolescent Depression

By Steven Woda on June 28, 2013 at 2:26 PM

A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health reports that teenagers who experience cyberbullying are more likely to develop negative responses such as depression and addictive behaviors.

The study's lead author, Dr. Manuel Gamez-Guadix of the University of Deusto in Spain, said that it is important to understand how cyberbullying impacts adolescent health.  While many adolescents both become cyberbullying victims and also bully others themselves, those that experience cyberbullying attacks for six months or longer are more likely to experience problems such as depression or substance abuse.

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Don’t Give in to Sexting This Summer

By Steven Woda on June 17, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Our latest guest post for Internet Safety Month comes from Judge Tom Jacobs, the founder of AsktheJudge, an educational website for teenagers and the laws that affect them.  Here is his take on a big issue affecting teenagers both legally and socially today: sexting

As you know, it only takes a few seconds to pull up your shirt or drop your pants, snap a picture and send it to a love interest. Regardless of your reason for sexting, think twice before actually doing it. It’s an act that may change, or even end, your life.

Your state may have a sexting law. You may or may not know about it or what it says. If you Google the name of your state and “sexting laws” you can read about the consequences for sexting someone. The fact that your state doesn’t have such a law isn’t a green light for you to go ahead and send a sext message or photo to even your closest friend. This is the Internet we’re dealing with. Every post or image has the potential to enter cyberspace and go viral. You can’t take it back once you hit “send” no matter how many times you go back to hit delete or trash.

Consider the case of 13-year-old Hope Witsell. It started out as flirting, but quickly turned into a nightmare. Hope was in middle school when she sent a topless photo of herself by text to a boy she liked. However, it was intercepted by a girl who had borrowed the boy’s cell phone. The girl forwarded the photo to friends and it spread to several schools.

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