Swatting--Why This Form of Bullying Isn't Going Away Anytime Soon

Remember when we wrote about a new trend called swatting a few months back?  Well it hasn't seemed to have slowed down at all.   

If you remember, swatting is where pranksters call police to falsely report that a major crime is underway at some celebrity's home.  Attempted kidnappings and shootings have been some of the most common crimes falsely reported.  This weekend, "X-Factor" judge Simon Cowell was the latest celebrity to fall victim to this form of bullying.  Other swatting victims include actor Ashton Kutcher and singers Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. Because these people are well-known celebrities, there is usually a full tactical police response, which takes money and resources away from people who might actually need it.

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Does Your Homeowner's Insurance Cover Cyberbullying?

You may not have thought about it a lot, but the company that covers your homeowners insurance is very concerned about cyberbullying and liability issues that could arise with a lawsuit. As the world moves quickly toward establishing dual identities in both the “real world” and online communities such as Facebook, Twitter, You Tube or gaming systems like Xbox 360, new legal liability issues are escalating.

Cyberbullying incidents are reported to be quickly on the rise, and the insurance industry is scrambling to determine risk for an issue that did not exist ten years ago. While personal injury riders do exist as a part of standard homeowners or umbrella coverage, cyberbullying is still considered to be a “gray area” of coverage by most companies while the courts have already begun to sort the issue out.

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Cyberbullying: A Mother's Story

Our son, Bud, loved cyberschool. During his sophomore and junior years his grades got better, his attitude improved, he started hanging out with friends again. Towards the end of his junior year, Bud decided he wanted to go back to public school for his senior year. We were all very excited about his progress. Some of Bud's friends from junior high had taken a wrong turn in high school and started taking methamphetamines. Bud had no use for that and stopped hanging out with them, although they all parted on good terms.

The problem was that G, the younger brother of one of these boys, had looked up to Bud as a protector and was very resentful when Bud stopped hanging out with G's brother and friends. G is a troubled child -

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Arlington Schools Consider Social Media Policy in Lieu of Sexting

schools using social mediaWith the sprawling number of cyberbullying, sexting, and faculty/predator scandals of late the Arlington County School Board is Considering a Social Media Policy applying to teachers and staff. As reported by Whitney Wild of WJLA below: 

"In the wake of scandals involving inappropriate student-teacher conduct, Arlington public schools are re-evaluating how teachers can use social media to interact with students.

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MTV True Life: I'm In a Sexting Scandal

MTV's True Life, a reality/documentary series that profiles real teens in episodes like “I'm a Textaholic”toI'm a Sugar Baby (you can look that one up to see what it means), is now accepting auditions for the newest episode, “I'm in a Sexting Scandal.”

Sexting makes its way into the headlines on a regular basis today, so it's not surprising that it has also become the subject of a True Life episode. Almost every week, I read stories about schools cracking down on sexting, kids charged as sex offenders for receiving or distributing sexts, teachers dismissed for sexting students, and states drafting new sexting legislation.

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Sexting Laws Get Changed in Florida

Even though it's not smart, a lot of teens are sexting. That is, they're sending nude or suggestive  pictures of themselves to each other on their cell phones. Though sexting is still a bad idea for a lot of reasons, parents in Florida should know that sexting laws that could affect their kids have changed.

Under the old law, any minor possessing or distributing a sext where the subject is under age 18 could be prosecuted as a sex offender. The new law, however, is much more lenient. What happens now when a teacher or parent finds and reports a sext on a child's phone?

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California Let's Cyberbullying Victims to Switch School Districts

Cyberbullying has the potential to hurt a victim in every aspect of life, including school performance. If a kid is being bullied, attempts to improve school performance without addressing the bullying are unsuccessful. One California bill aims to correct that.

Anti-bullying bill AB 1156 expands the definition of bullying to recognize its profound effects on victims. Bullying has a detrimental effect on mental and physical health, and bullied kids are unable to participate in school activities and resources like their peers.

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New Jersey Teens Can Now Be Sexting Each Other Legally

Parents have watched as sexting tweens and teens across the country have been charged with creating or distributing child pornography. States are struggling to address the problematic behavior of teen sexting, but many legislators feel that applying child pornography laws is misguided.

For instance, New Jersey recently passed a bill specifically targeting the issue of minors who send nude or racy photos of themselves to each other consensually. Minors age 12 through 17 who share photos with each other will not be subject to child pornography laws – although they will have to undergo an education program designed to teach about the dangers of sexting. If a minor forwards a racy photo of someone else without their consent, they could still be punished under current child pornography statutes.

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Proposed CA Law on Social Networking Privacy and Facebook for Kids

Every parent knows that Facebook for kids and children on social networking sites need to vigilantly safeguard their privacy.  Apparently lawmakers know that too, and legislators in California are proposing a new bill aimed at protecting the privacy of social networking users.

Initially, the proposed bill only applied to users under 18, but that provision has since been struck and the bill would now apply to users across the board regardless of age. It would require social networking websites to:

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Sexting Legislation

sexting lawSexting is quickly becoming a rampant problem in high schools and junior highs. One in five teens have sent a nude or semi-nude picture of themselves to someone else’s cell phone, and one in four have seen a nude or semi-nude picture intended for someone else.

In this climate where racy self-portraits of our kids are being circulated around the school or Internet, many parents are up in arms but don’t know what to do. It’s certainly alarming, but is it illegal? Should it be?

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