COST action IS0801 is pleased to announce the organisation of an international workshop on legal issues regarding cyberbullying amongst youngsters (peer-to-peer and student-versus-authority). This workshop will be held on Wednesday May 26th 2010, in Antwerp (Belgium). It will be followed by the "E-youth: Opportunities and risks" conference on May 27th-28th 2010, organised by UCSIA and the University of Antwerp.
(CNET blog) There's no denying that the online multiplayer experience is a major selling point for video games like the just-released Modern Warfare 2. The ability to play with (and against) other players from around the world adds an expanded dimension and a social component that single-player titles lack. But while the bulk of the mainstream media criticism of these games tends to focus on the violence, gore, and questionable ethics in such combat-centric titles, little is spoken about a growing issue that can affect online gamers playing any title: instances of racism, misogyny, and homophobia.
(Guardian) The parents of a 15-year-old schoolgirl who jumped to her death after being bullied on Facebook have spoken of the "huge pressures" placed on young people by social networking sites. Holly Grogan died after plunging 30ft from a road bridge near her home on to a dual carriageway, where she was hit by passing traffic. She was found at 11pm on Wednesday under a bridge in Churchdown, Gloucestershire, two miles from her home.
(BBC) A teenager has been detained for three months in a young offenders' institution for harassing a woman on social networking website Facebook. Keeley Houghton swore at and threatened Emily Moore in person and on the internet in July, Worcester Magistrates' Court heard. The 18-year-old of Elgar Avenue, in Malvern, Worcestershire, admitted a charge of harassment on 31 July. She was also given a five-year restraining order. Houghton is prohibited from contacting Ms Moore, or commenting about her on any social networking system or website during that time.
(BBC) More than a third of under-18s have been sent offensive or distressing sexual images electronically, a survey by the charity Beatbullying suggests. A large majority of the 2,094 respondents said a fellow teenager had sent it, compared with 2% who said an adult had sent the message.
(Irish Times) A service allowing mobile phone users to block unwanted messages from other phones will be available from next month. The service, designed to combat bullying on mobile phones is being offered by O2 and is likely to appeal in particular to parents worried about their children?s exposure to such threats. O2's service, called Block It, allows O2 customers to block unwanted text, picture and video messages from other mobile phone numbers.
(TechRadar) A survey by an anti-bullying charity has discovered that one in three youngsters could have been the victim of cyberbullying. A poll of 2,000 11 to 18-year-olds by BeatBullying discovered an alarming growth in the use of technology like social networking sites and SMS messaging. Girls are four times more likely to be on the receiving end of cyberbullying than boys. The research was released to boost the profile of BeatBullying's CyberMentors campaign, which has been backed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
(Microsoft) Almost a third (29%) of European teenagers have been bullied on the internet according to new research by Microsoft. The research, which examines the rise in social media and the habits and attitudes of European teenagers, was released today in support of Safer Internet Day and the launch of a new Microsoft volunteering programme designed to educate children, parents and teachers on safe internet use. See also Teens targeted in net safety push(BBC).
(RAPID) A video clip on cyber-bullying has been produced for the European Commission. It is available in all EU languages plus in Norwegian and Icelandic. The video will be broadcast on public and private TV channels all over Europe throughout 2009 and will kick off on Safer Internet Day (10 February). A longer version of the video will also be posted on the internet on sites popular with teenagers such as: Arto, Skyrock, Piczo, Habbo Hotel, Myspace UK, YouTube, Dailymotion, BeboIE. The video clip shows a young girl who is victim of cyberbullying, but fights back and reports the problem to her social networking site. Her appearance goes through different stages of transformation, reflecting the way that bullies are distorting her photo on a website. Finally, the girl takes control by pressing the "Report abuse" button available on the social networking site and everything comes back to normal. "Block bullying online! Keep it fun, keep control" is the final message of the video. It shows young people that there are solutions to the problems they may face on the Internet. The video closes with the website and phone number where teenagers can find help and advice in their country. The video clip can be seen at http://www.keepcontrol.eu/.
(Heise) Nach Angaben der Europäischen Kommission in Brüssel wurde bereits jeder fünfte Schüler in Deutschland im Internet gemobbt. In anderen EU-Ländern ist Cyber-Mobbing sogar noch verbreiteter. Untersuchungen ergaben, dass in Großbritannien jeder dritte Jugendliche und in Polen sogar jeder Zweite schon einmal im Netz fertiggemacht wurde. Cyber-Mobbing steht deshalb im Zentrum des "Safer Internet Day", an dem Schüler und Lehrer weltweit dazu aufgerufen sind, über die Gefahren im Internet zu diskutieren.
(RAPID) Online technologies are becoming a favourite way for young people to communicate. However, they need to be aware of the potential risks they may encounter in the online environment, and know how to deal with them. INSAFE, the network of European Safer Internet Centres, has initiated the Safer Internet Day, an annual international event that will be celebrated in 2009 for the sixth time. The flagship event of Safer Internet Day 2009 will take place in Luxembourg, and will be attended by Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media. It will focus on social networking, a phenomenon which has been quickly and widely adopted by young people in recent years. On 10 February, the main social networking sites active in Europe will sign an agreement in which industry will commit itself to maximize the benefits of the internet while managing the potential risks to children and young people. To empower children and young people to deal with these risks, on Safer Internet Day the Commission will launch a Europe-wide communication campaign and unveil a video clip on cyber-bullying, one of the most frequent problems young people encounter on the internet.
(ElectronLibre) Le 10 février lors d'une cérémonie que l'on attend pleine d'entrain, Viviane Reding, la commissaire européennes en charge des médias et de la société de l'information, signera avec des représentants du Web 2.0 une énième charte. Celle-ci est sensée garantir que l´internet devienne/reste un espace de sécurité pour les enfants. L'événement aura lieu au Luxembourg et sera également l´occasion d´une remise du prix "INSAFE competition". Jean-Louis Schiltz, Ministre des Communications du Luxembourg sera également présent.Du côté de l´Internet, seront essentiellement présents des acteurs comme Skyblog, Dailymotion, MySpace, Yahoo !, Facebook, AOL ou encore Vivendi. La journée se terminera pas la diffusion d´un clip intitulé "Internet is fun, keep it fun, keep control ! Block bullying online !" - Que l´on peut résumé par "L´internet est amusant, préservons le.
(BBC) The Czech education ministry has drawn up guidelines for teachers to halt the spread of cyber bullying in schools. Some Czech children have attempted to blackmail teachers or classmates by posting video clips of them on the internet. The guidelines offered schools more options than simply confiscating mobile phones or banning their use during classes.
(New York Times) Is lying about one's identity on the Internet now a crime? The verdict in the MySpace cyberbullying case raised a variety of questions about the terms that users agree to when they log on to Web sites. The defendant in the case was convicted by a federal jury on three misdemeanor counts of computer fraud for having misrepresented herself on the popular social network MySpace. The woman, Lori Drew, posed as a teenage boy in using the account to send first friendly and then menacing messages to Megan Meier, 13, who killed herself shortly after receiving a message in October 2006 that said in part, "The world would be a better place without you." MySpace?s terms of service require users to submit "truthful and accurate" registration information. Ms. Drew?s creation of a phony profile amounted to "unauthorized access" to the site, prosecutors said, a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, which until now has been used almost exclusively to prosecute hacker crimes.
(Heise) The third edition of the European Union's Safer Internet Programme will put a stronger focus on targeting cyberbullying and cybergrooming. Next to malicious and illegal content, the new program will also tackle problematic behaviour on the net, said Richard Swetenham of the Information Society and Media Directorate-General at the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) in Strasbourg. According to Swetenham, his colleagues in the Commission are currently also working to provide consistent punishment for cyberbullying and cybergrooming across the EU. So far, the necessary legislation has only been adopted by two EU member states. EU commissioners think that the relevant articles on cyberbullying and cybergrooming should be raised to EU level by extending a Council framework decision on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography.
(CNET) Three out of four teens were bullied online over a 12 month period, according to a study released by psychologists at the University of California, Los Angeles. And while that number may seem high at the outset, only 1 in 10 of those kids told their parents or another adult about it, the study showed.
(BBC) A Missouri woman who allegedly used a fake MySpace profile to bully a girl who later committed suicide has been indicted by a federal Grand Jury. Lori Drew, 49, allegedly posed as a boy on the website to befriend Megan Meier, 13, who hanged herself after he broke off the virtual relationship. Ms Drew denies creating the profile on the social networking website and sending messages to Meier. Lori Drew Indicted in MySpace Suicide Case. The indictment (.pdf) alleges that Drew and her co-conspirators violated MySpace's terms of service, which require registrants to provide truthful registration information and refrain from soliciting personal information from anyone under 18 or using information obtained from MySpace services to harass or harm other people, among other terms. See also Experts Say MySpace Suicide Indictment Sets 'Scary' Legal Precedent (Wired). Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles are resorting to a novel and dangerous interpretation of a decades-old computer crime law - potentially making a felon out of anybody who violates the terms of service of any website.
(theage.com.au) Cyber bullying is affecting more than one in five young Australians, said the annual Youth Poll survey. The internet plays a critical role in the lives of 15- to 20-year-olds, with 64 per cent having a social network site such as MySpace or Facebook. But 22 per cent had been harassed or bullied online.
(Washington Post) Teens are conducting an increasing share of their social lives electronically, via text-messaging, e-mail and social networking sites such as Facebook. Threats, harassment and bullying have followed them online. Although such behavior is not new, research suggests that it is expanding rapidly, and educators and lawmakers seem resolved to pay closer attention to the words students exchange online while off campus.
(Iconoclast blog) by Declan McCullagh. NeW York State prosecutors decided to charge Isaiah Rodriguez, 18, of aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a child over a series of MySpace.com messages professing his ardent devotion to a 14-year-old girl. Fortunately, the New York City criminal court thought otherwise. In a ruling on April 4, Judge Michael Gerstein in Brooklyn hels that while the actions of a love-struck teenager may well be foolish, reckless, or otherwise acts which might not be expected from a mature adult, they are not, without more, elevated to crimes.
(BBC) Teachers are warning parents they need to be more aware about the potential misuse of the internet and mobile phones by their children. A survey of Association of Teachers and Lecturers members says more than half know of pupils being "cyber bullied" and 16% have been victims themselves. Union leaders said schools should use the available sanctions, such as confiscating phones, more consistently.
La pression monte contre le site « Note2be.com » ; créé fin janvier, il propose aux élèves de noter leurs enseignants, en les citant nommément, ainsi que le nom de l'établissement et la matière qu'ils enseignent. Le site fait l'objet d'une enquête officielle de la part de la Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés, qui dit avoir été saisie de 17 plaintes et de plus de 160 signalements. La Cnil a « effectué en urgence un contrôle sur place, le mercredi 13 février », indique-t-elle dans un communiqué.
(Heise) Das Landgericht Köln hat im Rechtsstreit zwischen einer Gymnasiallehrerin und dem Schülerportal "Spickmich" erneut gegen die Lehrerin entschieden. Diese will gerichtlich erzwingen, dass ihre persönlichen Daten und Bewertungen gelöscht werden. Bei "Spickmich" können Schüler Bewertungen über ihre Lehrer in Kategorien wie "cool und witzig", "faire Noten" oder "menschlich" abgeben. Die Gymnasiallehrerin, die zunächst lediglich die Note 4,3 erhalten hatte, sieht darin eine Verletzung ihrer Persönlichkeitsrechte und klagt auf Unterlassung. Das Gericht wies die Klage der Lehrerin jedoch als "unzulässig" ab. Das Grundrecht auf Meinungsfreiheit gelte zwar nicht unbeschränkt, sondern finde seine Grenzen bei reinen Schmähkritiken und Beleidigungen, doch davon könne bei "Spickmich" nicht die Rede sein. "Durch die Bewertungen sind nicht das Erscheinungsbild oder die allgemeine Persönlichkeit der Klägerin betroffen, sondern die konkrete Ausübung ihrer beruflichen Tätigkeit", argumentierten die Richter.
(Times) Soaring numbers of teachers are calling helplines for advice on how to cope after being "cyberbullied" on the internet by their pupils. The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said that it now receives a call every day from teachers who say they have become victims. The problem was unheard of just two years ago. Pupils are scouring the internet looking for embarrassing photographs of them. They also use chatrooms and networking sites, such as Facebook or Bebo, to share incriminating material or make vicious accusations about their tutors.
(BBC) Two men have been arrested in France over mobile phone death threats to the 10-year-old son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie confirmed a report by Le Point magazine that Louis Sarkozy had received several threatening phone calls.
(BBC) Leading websites need to increase their self-regulation to tackle a rise in cyberbullying, according to Scotland's largest teaching union. The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) voiced its concerns over the amount of inappropriate material about schools, pupils and teachers. General secretary Ronnie Smith said those hosting the websites were failing to exercise proper editorial control.
(Journal of Adolescent Health) Adolescents' access to and use of new media technology (e.g., cell phone, personal data assistant, computer for Internet access) are on the rise, and this explosion of technology brings with it potential benefits and risks. Attention is growing about the risk of adolescents to become victims of aggression perpetrated by peers with new technology. In September 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convened a panel of experts in technology and youth aggression to examine this specific risk. This special issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health presents the data and recommendations for future directions discussed at the meeting. The articles in the Journal support the argument that electronic aggression is an emerging public health problem in need of additional prevalence and etiological research to support the development and evaluation of effective prevention programs.
(BBC) The first online anti-bullying channel has been launched to encourage young people to denounce the intimidation. YouTube has set up a site where youngsters can post their own videos and messages. It follows growing concern about the increase in persecution by e-mail, mobile phone and on social networking sites, known as cyberbullying. The scheme is being launched at the start of anti-bullying week and is run jointly with charity Beatbullying.
(AP) Megan Meier thought she had made a new friend in cyberspace when a cute teenage boy named Josh contacted her on MySpace and began exchanging messages with her. Megan, a 13-year-old who suffered from depression and attention deficit disorder, corresponded with Josh for more than a month before he abruptly ended their friendship, telling her he had heard she was cruel. The next day Megan committed suicide. Her family learned later that Josh never actually existed; he was created by members of a neighborhood family that included a former friend of Megan's.
See also Cyberbullying Suicide Stokes the Internet Fury Machine (Wired).
(BBC) Schools are being given guidance urging them to take firm action against pupils who use mobile phones and the internet to bully other children and teachers. More than a third of 12 to 15-year-olds have faced some kind of cyberbullying, according to a government study. Ministers are also launching an awareness campaign on the social networking sites used by many pupils. Schools have been told they can confiscate mobile phones and how to get hurtful material pulled from websites. see Safe to Learn: embedding anti-bullying work in schools (Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and Directgov cyberbullying campaign. Bullying.com (BBC Radio 4).
(IHT) With social networking sites exploding in growth, most young users are well aware of the risks and the seamy side of the territory, from cyber-bullying, identity theft and encounters with adults posing as children to communities that promote anorexia and bulimia eating disorders as lifestyle choices. With backing from the European Union, which is spending ?45 million on an Internet safety program through 2008, a collection of national groups are now focusing specifically on the issue of online sexual grooming.
(BBC) Teachers have called for websites such as YouTube to be shut down as part of efforts to prevent pupils and staff being bullied. Delegates at the conference of the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) said bullying can continue outside school and work hours. They said bullies can send abusive text messages or e-mails to victims.
(BBC) One third of US online teenagers have been victims of cyber-bullying according to research by the Pew Internet Project. The most common complaint from teens was about private information being shared rather than direct threats. Girls were more likely than boys to be targets and teens who share their identities online are the most vulnerable, the survey found.
(BBC) One in five young people has been bullied by mobile phone or via the internet, a study suggests. Children's charity NCH surveyed 770 youngsters and found 14% of 11- to 19-year-olds had been threatened or harassed using text messages. Bullies had used images taken with mobile phone cameras to intimidate or embarrass one in 10 young people.
(CBC) Cyber-bullying is disturbingly common among Canadian teens, with a majority who responded to an online survey saying they have been bullied online, according to a report. The report, Cyber-bullying: Our Kids' New Reality, drew from nearly 2,500 responses to a survey conducted by Kids Help Phone between Dec. 20, 2006, and Jan. 20, 2007. Kids Help Phone and Bell Canada released the report in a handful of Canadian cities.
(MSNBC) Bullies are no longer content to taunt their victims in the playground but are turning to cyberspace, according to Canadian researchers. They are using e-mail, text messaging and social networking sites in new forms of victimization. Cyber bullies are even forcing their girlfriends to undress in front of webcams and then sharing the images with others online, said Professor Faye Mishna, of the University of Toronto, who has been researching the cyber abuse of children. Preliminary results from the research show so-called computer geeks are becoming the new schoolyard bullies. Final results of the study, which will be completed in June, are expected to be published in the autumn.
(BBC) Teachers are calling for much tougher restrictions to protect staff from 'cyber bullying' by pupils. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers has warned of the distress caused to teachers by anonymous, malicious comments on websites. 'Offensive' comments and mocking video clips should not be allowed to undermine teachers' authority.
(Reuters) Italian prosecutors put two Google Italy representatives under investigation as part of an inquiry into how a video of teenagers harassing an autistic classmate surfaced on its video site, a judicial source said. The two are accused of failing to check on the content of the video posted on the Internet search engine's Web site. The video, which sparked outrage in the country, showed four teenagers beating and poking fun at a 17-year-old disabled boy in a classroom in the northern Italian city of Turin.
(BBC) More parents than ever now see mobiles as vital tools in supervising children's behaviour, giving them peace of mind, and making young people feel safer. Despite fears over 'happy slapping', text bullying and mobile crime, parents say that young people are safer with them than without, say researchers.
(out-law) Operators of social networking sites should create a joint code of practice regulating their treatment of children. That is just one of the possible courses of action suggested by researchers behind a report into children's use of the sites. Respected consumer bible Which? has conducted research into the dangers posed to children by social networking sites such as MySpace and Bebo and has found behaviour which it says could shock parents. Users of the sites are exposed to bullying, pornography and junk food advertising, said the report, and parents are largely unaware of the problems.
(BBC) Social networking sites such as Bebo and MySpace must do more to police what users do, warns Computing Which? A study of the sites by the consumer watchdog unearthed pornographic images, evidence of bullying and inappropriate adverts. It also proved easy to pose as a child as the sites did no age or ID checks.
(CNET News.com) A national anticrime group has urged Congress to pass new laws targeting the practice of 'cyberbullying,' a growing problem the group says will plague at least 13 million American children during the next school year. Mean, threatening, or embarrassing messages delivered online and via portable devices like cell phones are a 'pernicious threat that awaits our kids when they go back to school,' Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said at a press conference hosted by Fight Crime: Invest In Kids, a nonprofit advocacy organization composed of 3,000 police chiefs, prosecutors, law enforcement leaders and crime victims.
(CNET News.com) According to a recent survey by U.K. children's charity NCH, one in five kids has been bullied via digital phone or computer. Bullying by text message was the most common form of abuse reported, with 14 percent of children interviewed saying they had received upsetting messages on their mobile phones. The interactions run the gamut from disconcerting to downright terrifying.
(BBC) One in five young people has been bullied by mobile phone or via the internet, a study suggests. Children's charity NCH surveyed 770 youngsters and found 14% of 11- to 19-year-olds had been threatened or harassed using text messages. see Putting U in the picture - Mobile bullying survey 2005.
(Hansard) Linda Gilroy (Plymouth, Sutton) (Lab/Co-op): Does the Prime Minister agree that although safe use of the internet opens up worlds of learning and adventure unknown to previous generations of children, it also opens up new dangers of cyber bullying, cyber stalking and cyber grooming, to name but a few? Will he welcome the work of WiredSafety in supporting Teenangels, a group of young people teaching themselves the safe use of the internet? Will he also welcome the launch of their UK activity in Portcullis House tomorrow? The Prime Minister: I entirely agree about the importance of the issue that my hon. Friend raises and with what she said about the need both to help children use the internet safely and to combat child pornography. As she probably knows, the UK has perhaps the world's best regime for tackling child pornography, the Internet Watch Foundation, and we continue to work closely with the industry, law enforcement agencies and children's charities to seek ways of protecting children from abuse. The internet obviously bestows enormous opportunities and benefits, but it also creates the dangers to which she draws attention, so it is important that we make sure that we do everything possible to protect our children, who may be gaining access to unsuitable material.
(BBC) Children who get threatening and unwanted text messages could soon have a way of fighting back. SMS and e-mail bullying has become increasingly common as more children have computers and their own mobiles. Research by children's charity NCH suggested 16% of 11 to 19 year-olds had received threatening text messages. But a new service for mobile phone operators could give young people the power to stop the unwanted messages getting to their mobiles from others. The service, Intelligent SMS Centre (iSMSC), means children who get bullying texts will be able to log the mobile number of the sender with their mobile operator. Any future messages from that number will then be stopped before it reaches the child's phone.
(Washington Post) by Rachel Simmons. The Internet has transformed the landscape of children's social lives, moving cliques from lunchrooms and lockers to live chats and online bulletin boards, and intensifying their reach and power. When conflicts arise today, children use their expertise with interactive technologies to humiliate and bully their peers, and avoid reprimand from adults or foes. As parents plead technological ignorance and many schools decline to discipline "off-campus" behavior, the Internet has become a free-for-all where bullying and cruelty are rampant.
Youngsters targeted by digital bullies (BBC) More than one in four youngsters in the UK has been threatened via their computers or mobile phones, according to a survey. Children's charity NCH, which commissioned the research, now wants young people to be taught how to deal with 21st-Century bullying techniques.