Online Public Safety Internet News Roundup: May 24th 2013

Adult Bullies Take Their Stalking Online

USA, May 16, 2013: Cyber-stalking is a growing and dangerous trend that has many people living in fear. “Cyber stalking is the adult version of cyber bullying with an extra fear component,” Parry Aftab recently told CBS 2 investigative reporter Tamara Leitner. “You never know if it’s your best friend or your worst enemy. It might be your ex; it might be your boss; it might be your neighbor who is angry with you.” Jody Raines claims that she was cyber-stalked by a man who she briefly dated. He was so upset when she broke things off that he took to the internet, spreading lies, posting video, and threatening her and her dog. Experts told CBS 2 that the best course of action is to avoid interacting with a cyber-stalker. Block them on social media, and file a restraining order. However, they cautioned that the First Amendment makes prosecuting cyber-stalking difficult.

Michigan Lawmaker Backs Anti-Cyber-Bullying Bill

USA, May 18, 2013: A Democratic Michigan lawmaker is backing an effort aimed at preventing cyber-bullying in schools in Lansing. A bill recently introduced by Democratic Rep Theresa Abed of Grand Ledge would require schools to expand their policies prohibiting bullying to also include cyber-bullying. It would also mandate that schools report cyber-bullying incidents to the Michigan Department of Education. 

Organisations Come Together to Increase Cyber-Bullying Awareness

USA, May 20, 2013: Several well-known organisations are partnering with Submit the Documentary to expand awareness on the topic of cyber-bullying, including The National Federation of Just Communities of WNY Inc, Safe Online Outreach Society, Global Anti-Bullying Autism Campaign, and Kay Stephens, author of Cyberslammed. Alice Cahn of Cartoon Network’s Stop Bullying and Speak Up describes Submit the Documentary: “It’s an impressive collection of interviews with key experts in the field; and offers a sobering look at a devastating health issue affecting America’s and the world’s youth.” Cahn is also a featured expert in Submit the Documentary and she has had worldwide influence on spreading awareness of bullying.

Eight in Ten Children Know Parents’ Passwords

UK, May 21, 2013: Eight in ten children know the passwords or pin codes to their parents’ laptops, phones, tablets or PCs, according to a poll by Virtual Piggy, a child friendly payment service. One in ten said their parents constantly change their passwords so they can’t get access but 18% admit they regularly look over their parent’s shoulder to find it out. A persistent 12% of youngsters said they try various combinations of numbers until they crack the password to gain access to their parent’s online accounts. More than one in ten of the 2,000 children aged between five and 18 polled have been in the doghouse with their mum or dad after attempting so many password combinations that all users were locked out. As a result, one in four children have racked up bills on credit cards and online accounts belonging to their parents. Researchers found that one quarter of the children polled spent on average £33.23 on either iTunes, PayPal or their parents’ debit and credit cards. But the results are hardly surprising when UK children are just six years old when they start using their parents’ laptop, PC or tablet. Children revealed that YouTube was their most popular site, followed by gaming sites and social networking websites.

Police Refer Cyber-Bullying Cases to Private Investigators

Australia, May 21, 2013: According to The Daily Telegraph, Australian police are referring cases of Facebook cyber-bullying to private investigators, telling them they neither have the time nor the expertise to deal with complaints from parents. The newspaper revealed yesterday that parents were paying up to $800 a day to hire private investigators to identify and track down those who were bullying their children and confront them with evidence of their ugly online behaviour, with one investigator fielding three calls a day from anxious parents. The revelation sparked a campaign by the newspaper to put pressure on social network sites to become more proactive in pursuing and banning bullies who use anonymous profiles. NSW Police launched a Fraud and Cyber Crime Squad in November 2011, committing resources to what it claimed was a dramatic shift in the way its detectives were investigating crime in cyberspace. A police spokesperson said: “We don’t use private investigators, nor do we refer to private investigators.”

One In Six High School Students Are Cyber-Bullied

USA, May 21, 2013: High school students today have a one-in-six chance of falling victim to cyber-bullying in a given 12-month timeframe, according to a recent study presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies. The study, based on a survey of 15,425 students conducted by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also showed that girls were more than twice as likely to be victims as boys (22.1% vs 10.8%). While schoolyard bullying may have seemed like a rite of passage for their parents, this study shows that the nation’s children are more vulnerable than ever to malicious attacks and bullying through the various social media outlets and mobile devices that enable perpetrators to reach a wide audience while concealing their own identity. While technology in the classroom is here to stay and offers myriad educational benefits, schools and staff who don’t properly address cyber-bullying or harassment may be held liable under certain state and federal laws if they are found negligent in using reasonable care to protect children. Makers of the iboss SWG web-security solution believe that their system empowers school officials to secure all aspects of on and off-campus internet traffic. “At iboss Security, our goal is extending technology use in education while providing the tools administrators need to identify high-risk behaviors, such as cyberbullying. By identifying high-risk patterns, we can alert administrators, parents, and teachers proactively before a situation escalates,” says Peter Martini, Co-Founder iboss Security.

Cyber-Bullying Increase Suicide Risk

USA, May 21, 2013: Adolescents who reported being victims of cyber-bullying or engaging in high-risk sexual behaviours were more likely to have considered or attempted suicide, said Kristi Kindrick of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Data from the federal Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), involving more than 15,000 teens in the 13-17 age group, suggested that cyber-bullying was a greater contributor to suicidal ideation than in-person bullying at school. Overall, 10.5% of the sample (after weighting to reflect national demographics) reported suicidal ideation, 8.3% reported having made suicide plans, 4.6% had made attempts, and 1.5% had been treated for an attempt. Those percentages were vastly higher, though, for the 3,416 respondents who said they had been bullying victims. For example, among the 1,367 reporting being bullied at school only, 23.2% said they had considered suicide, 19.4% had made plans, and 9.5% had made attempts. For the 930 reporting cyber-bullying only, 28.9% had thoughts of suicide, 22.2% had made plans, and 14.7% had made attempts. And, among 1,119 participants who said they were bullied both at school and online, 39.5% had considered suicide, 32.7% had made plans, and 21.1% had made attempts. The researchers found that girls were nearly twice as likely as boys to experience cyber-bullying, and that it was far more common among white girls than those of other ethnicities. Kindrick, referring to a 2004 film starring Lindsay Lohan, said the findings indicated that the “Mean Girls” phenomenon is a reality in many high schools.

Cyber-Bullied Children Don’t Tell Parents

Australia, May 22, 2013: Children as young as eight are being cyber-bullied and many are refusing to tell their parents, research by McAfee shows. About 25% of children between eight and 12 say nasty comments have been made about them or a friend online. Cyber-bullying becomes an even bigger issue as children grow, with 53% of teens aged 13-17 being exposed to online cruelty. The research shows that while 71% of tweens told their parents about the cyber-bullying, only 38% of teenagers did so. About 76% of tweens said they continued to use the social networking site after seeing the nasty comments.

Cyber Safety Awareness and Information Lacking

Australia, May 22, 2013: Cyber safety awareness may still be lacking among the wider community, but so is information on how people can protect themselves from attacks, according to research from the Australian Information Security Association (AISA). The research found that 90% of surveyed members believe available security measures are not being reliably deployed, while 98% predict security threats will increase. As National Cyber Safety Awareness Week ramps up, AISA advocacy group chair James Turner said the organisation would like to help the wider community by offering them tips on how to prevent IT security issues. “What’s as important as awareness is the knowledge of what to do,” he said, “This is why the [Australian government’s] Stay Smart Online campaign is important, because it is both raising the issue as well as providing 10 top tips that people can actually do to protect themselves.”

The Online Public Safety Internet News Roundup is collated from news sources around the web by Anna Kolesnichenko and edited by Ribs Susiaho.

About Rebecca Newton

Online Community and Safety professional, musician, I love dogs and kids...and most adults.

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