Getting Teens to Rethink Cyberbullying

Posted by Sameer Hinduja on October 30, 2014

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This year, I’ve enjoyed being in touch with Trisha Prabhu, a 14-year-old freshman at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois. In the fall of 2013, after hearing about a young girl’s suicide because of cyberbullying, she set out to design a long-term solution to cyberbullying. Her work led her to the product Rethink, which won a spot as a Google Science Fair 2014 Global Finalist. Rethink gives adolescents trying to post an offensive message on social media a second chance to reconsider their decision.  Her product idea also won first prize at the PowerPitch Competition at 1871, Chicago’s technology and entrepreneurial hub. Rethink has been covered on Business Insider, the International Business Times, the Huffington Post, and several other media outlets. She currently holds a Provisional Patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for her Rethink idea. (read more…)

A Girl and her Guitar, Inspiring Bullying Victims to Stay Strong

Posted by Sameer Hinduja on October 27, 2014

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Recently, I have been in touch with Kathleen, who won Seventeen Magazine’s 2013 Mean Stinks contest by sharing a song she wrote which has been played in over thirty schools nationwide. It’s not just any song, it’s a song rooted in Kathleen’s desire to use her talents to encourage teens like her who have experienced bullying to not let the hate, harassment, and humiliation get to them. I really recommend that you take the time to check it out and support her by downloading it, because it’s meaningful, catchy, compelling, and impactful. And that is really hard to do with this topic. I am also drawn to her story because I play acoustic guitar and have written a few songs, and it just makes me so happy to see someone take their unique personal giftings and apply them in a way that can inspire change and (read more…)

Cyberbullying Prevention through Dance and the Spoken Word

Posted by Sameer Hinduja on October 21, 2014

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As National Bullying Prevention Month rolls on, we continue to highlight extraordinary movements and projects designed to combat cruelty and rekindle kindness, tolerance, and respect. Today, I want to feature the efforts of MusEffect, a very talented dance company out of Los Angeles. I have been in touch with their director, Jessica Starr, because I was so inspired by the Public Service Announcement video she and her team dreamed up, choreographed, and organized against the powerful and passionate backdrop of spoken word poetry performed by Azure Antoinette. My attention was captured because 1) I had heard some of Azure’s work years ago 2) My sister and I grew up in dance and the performing arts 3) the storyline is compelling and leaves an impact after watching it with your full attention. To be honest, there are a lot of “meh” PSAs that have been (read more…)

Natural Day – Love Yourself Before You Can Love Others

Posted by Sameer Hinduja on October 14, 2014

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Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to get to know Sanah Jivani, who is a senior at Klein Collins High School, and the founder of the international #naturalday movement. I was blown away by her story, and told her how important it was for others to hear it and be inspired by it (as I was). Please take the time to watch her YouTube video filmed earlier this year, and support her in any way you can.  Finally, please share it with the teens you care for so they know they can take any perceived trial and turn it into a triumph – and even one that can positively and powerfully affect many other lives. Here is Sanah’s story:

First diagnosed with Alopecia at the age of three, I never expected it to affect my life the way did. For (read more…)

What Jennifer Lawrence can teach us about sexting among teens

Posted by Sameer Hinduja on October 8, 2014

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This week, the Washington Post proclaimed that “sexting is the new first base.” This assertion was grounded in the results of a research study first published in 2012 (based on data from 2010). Researchers found that over one-fourth (28%) of 948 teens from seven public high schools in southeast Texas had sent a naked picture of themselves to someone else at some point in their lifetime. Other interesting findings included the fact that 31% of those surveyed revealed that they asked someone else for a sext, compared to a majority of respondents (57%) who indicated they had been asked for a sext. So, while it shouldn’t be considered a new norm and the majority of individuals simply don’t do it, it is happening to some extent. That is our reality. Yesterday, a friend pointed me to a Vanity Fair cover story which shares a very candid and (read more…)

Distinguishing Bullying from Other Hurtful Behaviors

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on October 2, 2014

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In my last post on this blog I wrote about the difficulty in determining when mean behavior crosses the line and becomes bullying behavior. I also discussed the challenge for researchers in trying to quantify the difference. In this post, I’d like to talk about why it is important to establish such a line. As academics, we love to debate how best to define bullying. Or, at least to call out the limitations in the ways that others do it. I’ve never been one to get too caught up in the definitional debate because I feel that whether a behavior meets someone’s artificially-created criteria for being bullying or not really doesn’t matter all that much. Admittedly, as a researcher I am frustrated by the myriad ways bullying (and especially cyberbullying) is defined, primarily because these discrepancies make comparisons across different studies difficult. But just because something satisfies one (read more…)

Bullies or Best Friends? The Challenge of Interpreting Interpersonal Relationships

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on September 16, 2014

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The other night I found myself in the proximity of a group of guys who were playing a game together. As they played, they talked: about sports and relationships and game strategy and many other topics that you might imagine would come up among a group of young men. From my eavesdropping it seemed that they were all longtime acquaintances. But it was also evident that there were some major power-dynamics at play within this bunch. One or two members dominated the conversation, while a few others sat back and focused their energy on the game rather than the gossip. From an outsider’s perspective, much of the interpersonal interactions could easily be characterized as bullying. To be clear, there wasn’t any physical bullying going on, but I witnessed a lot of name calling, degradation, humiliation, and exclusion. Curse words were cast like paint in a Jackson Pollock piece. Bad gameplay (read more…)

Standing Up and Speaking Out Against Cyberbullying

Posted by Sameer Hinduja on September 2, 2014

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I met Sarah Ball a couple of years ago, as she sat in the front row of a cyberbullying presentation I gave to educators at a national conference held in Orlando. As a teenager, she stood out from the rest of my audience of school professionals. She also stood out in terms of her contagious enthusiasm and interest, which was so evident in our conversation after my talk. Sarah told me of her story, and how she had personally asked the conference organizers if she could attend for free (since she was still in high school!) simply because she cared so much about this issue and wanted to make a meaningful difference. We have kept in touch since then, and we were able to feature some of her personal story in Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral. I wanted to feature it for our site (read more…)

Australia vs. America: More Similar Than Different When it Comes to Bullying

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on August 14, 2014

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I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to give a keynote address at the National Center Against Bullying (NCAB) biennial conference in Melbourne, Australia last week. The NCAB is an initiative of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation which was started in 1997 by Walter Mikac, whose wife and two young daughters (Alannah and Madeline) were gunned down in a tragic mass shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania, the year before. Mr. Mikac and a few others (including some who survived the attack) developed the foundation as a way to work toward protecting children from all forms of violence. I was honored to meet Mr. Mikac at the event. My remarks focused on the cyberbullying research that Sameer and I have done in the US, along with some of the challenges associated with defining bullying in a clear but comprehensive way. I also offered (read more…)

Preventing Bullying through Kindness

Posted by Sameer Hinduja on August 8, 2014

Addressing Cyberbullying by Encouraging Teens to be Kind

I’ve been working with Adam Sherman of the To Be Kind movement over the last few years, as he is an award-winning educator here in my home state of Florida (and also worked in the county where I went to school while growing up!). He is passionate about creating positive climates within schools to reduce violence, harassment, and hate, and his enthusiasm is contagious and so refreshing to see.  While teaching Leadership classes at school, he spearheaded a curriculum to encourage a peer environment that helps (and not hurts) others, and it has gained significant traction around Florida. I’ve asked him and a few of his students to share some of their thoughts below. My hope is that it inspires teachers and counselors to identify a cadre on campus that can take this idea and run with it! With the new academic year upon us, I think (read more…)

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