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…)

Revenge Porn and the Purge trend on Instagram and Twitter

Posted by Sameer Hinduja on July 25, 2014

revenge porn and the social media purge

Since last weekend, our site has received a lot of reports from both victims and other concerned social media users about the #purge phenomenon that has gone viral. For those of you unfamiliar, The Purge was a movie that came out in 2013.  The storyline featured the premise of all crime being legal for one night of the year. The sequel – The Purge: Anarchy – just came out and has seemingly served as the impetus for some users on Twitter and Instagram (and perhaps other platforms) to (sort of) replicate the storyline. How, you might ask? Well, for a twelve hour period, people are posting and saying whatever they want, and including a hashtag consisting of some variation of “purge” in it (for example, #twitterpurge, #instapurge, #purgenight). Apart from individuals mouthing off in malicious, cruel, and offensive ways (typically against others), the most (read more…)

Empower Bystanders to Improve School Climate

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on July 18, 2014

used under created commons courtesy of Saad Faruque

As technology has allowed bullies to expand the reach and scope of their torment to an ever broader audience, it has also allowed for increasing numbers of others to see and potentially respond. Cruel posts on Facebook or humiliating pictures sent via a cell phone can be viewed by countless individuals, and the question becomes, what does a teen do when he or she sees such behaviors? In our research, we have found that 42 percent of students had witnessed other people being cyberbullied. We suspect this number is a bit lower than expected due to the wording of the question, which reads as though we were interested in experiences that were synchronous: that is, that they saw the cyberbullying as it was happening. In assemblies at schools, we regularly ask students to indicate by a show of hands if they “have seen cyberbullying.” Usually most of the hands go (read more…)

Cyberbullying Law Ruled Too Vague

Posted by Justin W. Patchin on July 1, 2014

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a cyberbullying ordinance in Albany County, New York, that was being challenged and subsequently evaluated by the New York State Court of Appeals. The incident that initiated the review occurred back in June of 2011 and involved a 15-year-old student who had posted photos and hurtful comments of a sexual nature about several of his classmates to a Facebook flame page. He was one of the first to be charged with the new cyberbullying law. His attorney challenged the law as being overly broad, but lost in city court and the student ultimately pled guilty (while still retaining the ability to appeal). He did appeal to the Albany County Court, but again lost. The New York State Court of Appeals agreed to review the case and today returned their opinion. In short, in a 5-2 split decision, the (read more…)

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