Instagram Offers More Tools To Fight Cyberbullies

For the third time this year, Instagram is offering new tools to users that both allow users more ways to manage their accounts if they’re being cyberbullied, and promote more positive interaction on the app.

Instagram logoWe have to give Instagram credit here; users have been asking for changes and more protection – users from high profile celebrities to random users who are being targeted by trolls and cyberbullies. Further, users typically don’t know how they want to be protected or what will work, so Instagram continues to iterate what they offer.

Today’s changes:

Comment Control – Users can now go to the advanced settings tab in the app and turn off others’ ability to comment on posts. Comments are where most of the rudeness and cyberbullying occur.

Like Comments – Before today, users could tap the heart button for posts, but not for comments. Now, if you see a comment that makes you smile, you can share the love.

Unfollow Users From Private Accounts – If your account is private (most teen accounts are – way to go kids!), and you’ve accepted a follow request, until now the only way to unfollow that account was to block them, in which case that user is notified. Now you can unfollow the user, which removes them from your feed without notifying them.

Below is some smart commentary from Bloomberg on the changes.

Nice job Instagram. Your move, Twitter.

 

If your teen or tween is active online and you are having trouble keeping up, we can help. We respect your kids’ privacy and give you the tools you need to be a better digital parent. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

 

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Survey: What Does Adult Cyberbullying Look Like?

We wrote earlier this week about how younger people and those who spend more time on social media are more likely to be harassed online. That doesn’t mean that you should spend less time online – just that you need to be prepared for if and when the bad guys come knocking.

teen-cyberbullyingIt’s pretty straightforward stuff for adults, but doesn’t necessarily come as second nature to kids. That’s where parents come in.

The survey that we referenced was a little off the beaten path for us since the survey respondents were adults only – 18 years old and up. Normally we focus on child and teen issues. We thought we’d take a second look at the survey to highlight what types of adult harassment and cyberbullying are happening with adults these days, and what it means for families trying to safely and happily get around online.

Survey respondents reported having been subjected to the following:

  • Called offensive names – 17%
  • Received comments designed to embarrass – 14%
  • Received harmful comments about their appearance – 9%
  • Had personal details posted online – 7%
  • Victim of an online stalker – 6%
  • Repeatedly harassed over time – 6%
  • Threats of physical harassment – 4%
  • Sexual harassment – 4%

When asked about the above offenses, female social media users were much more likely than men to experience unwanted comments about their appearance, stalking and sexual harassment.

Does what happens online stay online? Not necessarily, even for adults. Of social media users who had been harassed, 28% of females say that it had an impact on their real world lives versus 19% of men.

It is probably obvious to parents that female kids are more likely to be harassed sexually or stalked online. As our young, inexperienced daughters venture online for the first time, it might not be as obvious to them.

Before you hand your child their first connected device you should be warning them about what may happen online, regardless of whether they’re a boy or a girl. With our daughters, it makes sense to be very clear about what the bad guys might be up to, and don’t think that tweens are too young to need this kind of guidance. The trolls get started early.

 

 

 

If your teen or tween is active online and you are having trouble keeping up, we can help. We respect your kids’ privacy and give you the tools you need to be a better digital parent. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

Canadian Survey Weighs Cyberbullying on Social Media

Unsurprising conclusion: The more time you spend on social media, the more likely you are to be harassed by another user.

That is just one takeaway from a new survey of social media users by the Angus Reid Institute in Canada. Canadians generally have the reputation of being kindler and gentler than those of us on this side of the border, but the results of the survey show that cyberbullying trends are similar in both countries.

The survey polled 1,530 adults aged 18 and up. Of the group, 89% were users of social media in varying degrees, and that number is 98% for the 18 – 34 year old respondents. Percentage of respondents who use the following social networks at least a couple of times per week:
sm-harassment

  • Facebook – 69%
  • Twitter – 17%
  • Instagram – 15%
  • Snapchat – 10%
  • LinkedIn – 8%
  • Tumblr – 5%
  • Other – 11%

When the survey looks at the frequency of social media use, they grouped respondents into the following categories:

  • 18% are Super Users who use multiple networks, multiple times per day
  • 42% are Frequent Users who use social media every day
  • 16% are Regular Users who use social media at least once per week
  • 11% are Light Users who are mostly on Facebook, but don’t use it very often
  • 15% don’t currently use social media, but some of those did but have quit

When looking at the responses of all who do use social networks, 31% claim that they have been cyberbullied on social media. Of the Super Users, fully 50% have experienced harassment online.

It’s pretty clear from the results that the more time you spend online, the more likely you are to experience harassment.

When considering the age of the respondents, as you might expect younger users tend to be a rougher crowd. 44% of the 18 – 34 year old cohort report having been harassed online at some point.

What does this mean for parents? Well, teens younger than 18 were not included in the survey, but two factors – age and time spent online – seem to correlate highly with the incidence on online abuse. If your teens are like mine, they are young by definition and tend to spend A LOT of time online.

As a parent, if your teen or tween hasn’t been harassed online yet, you should be prepared for the chance that she might be. There is no better preparation for this than talking about it today.

Establish an action plan for how she will respond when it happens, and that she should come to you for help is she is unsure of what to do. You can also review what options are available for dealing with abusers on each social network.

Incidentally, when asked how well social media companies are dealing with abusive users, 53% say that the networks are not doing enough to prevent the bad actors from cyberbullying, or doing something about it when it is reported.

Check back later this week for Part 2, where we look at what types of cyberbullying the survey found to be common online.

 

 

 

If your teen or tween is active online and you are having trouble keeping up, we can help. We respect your kids’ privacy and give you the tools you need to be a better digital parent. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

Instagram Resources for Bullying and Self-Injury Victims

Instagram logoInstagram is a community of sorts, so it makes sense that you would be able to report people in the community who are harming you, or who appear to be at risk of harming themselves.

We’ll be the first to admit that Instagram has done a good job creating such resources for users, and they are getting better. This week they announced that they are extending their helpline resources to a number of additional countries in Asia including Japan, Korea and Singapore.

The way the self-harm resources work is that an algorithm is running in the background that attempts to identify and reach out to users who appear to be at risk, and then offer to connect that user to a third party organization that can offer support.

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Let’s take a look at an example. This morning, we opened the search window and typed “cutting”, a hashtag frequently (too frequently) used by people who are engaged in self-harm. Workout fanatics also use that hashtag, which is probably why Instagram hasn’t killed it off entirely. When we proceeded to the search results, the message at right is displayed. If you click “Get Support” you are prompted with the options of messaging a friend, contacting a helpline or clicking thorough to a list of tips and support resources.

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If we instead opt to see the search results, we might be unlucky enough to see the image at right. This user claims to be in recovery, but does not appear to be doing very well. If you are so inclined, you can report that user to Instagram and hope that they’ll facilitate some sort of help.

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To that end, if you want to report anybody else’s account to Instagram, either because the account or a post is in any way inappropriate (self-harm, illegal activity, pornography…) or because you are being cyberbullied, click the three dots (…) at top right and the menu at right appears. The top two choices on the following screen allow you to report a user who appears to be a risk of self-injury, or to report an incident or harassment or bullying.

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Finally, there is help for users who are the victim of abusive comments posted under their posts. You can report those as well, but it’s a little trickier. If you see an abusive comment, tap the comment bubble below the pic and swipe left on the offending comment. You can then delete the comment (a great option) or tap the “!” (pictured at right) and report the comment.

Note: In our experience Instagram is not all that responsive to user inquiries so we aren’t sure how well these options work. In their defense, we have not heard reports of users complaining to Instagram about abuse and not getting resolution, as is often the case with Twitter.

 

 

 

If you are worried that your teen or tween is at risk, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

AT&T Teams With Schools to Fight Cyberbullying

Too much of the burden around youth cyberbullying gets put on schools – education, prevention, investigating cases and punishing perpetrators. It’s nice to see any time corporate America gets involved to lend a hand.

att-logoThe Teen Indie Awards for students films were held last night in New York, and showcased the winners in AT&T’s new effort to help schools combat cyberbullying.

The Cyberbullying Film Invitational was promoted and managed by AT&T and Fullscreen and attracted more than 250 student filmmakers from across the country. AT&T handed out awards to the best films, and plans to use footage from the winning films to produce an educational cyberbullying resource for schools. The video will be available, for free, to schools starting in March of next year.

The big winners from the contest:

  • Steilacoom High School, Steilacoom, WA, cash prize of $5,000
  • Mythic Bridge, Brooklyn, NY, cash prize of $3,500
  • Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego, CA, cash prize of $2,500

Other finalists winning $2,500 awards:

  • Grace Church School, New York, NY
  • Communications High School, Wall, NJ
  • Nature Coast Technical High School, Brooksville, FL

Other finalists winning $1,000 awards:

  • Cedar Crest High School, Lebanon, PA
  • Rye Country Day School, Rye, NY
  • Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School, Brooklyn, NY
  • Pine Crest School, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Science and Leadership Academy, Philadelphia, PA

An additional Public Choice award of $5,000 will be given out at a future date. You can vote for your favorite school here (Edit: voting now closed.

According to Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President, AT&T,

“An astounding 8-in-10 teenagers admit to being cyberbullied, or know someone who has been bullied through social media or text. We know this issue is very real for students, schools and families and AT&T wants to help. AT&T congratulates the student participants of our first Cyberbullying Film Invitational. We look forward to incorporating their powerful short films into our national film.”

Thank you and congratulations to all students who were involved, and thanks to AT&T for an outstanding effort to help the youth community. Thanks also for giving these budding filmmakers a stage to show their work.

 

 

 

If you are worried that your teen or tween is at risk, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

 

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

Looking for Teens to Take Our Cyberbullying Survey

Here’s a shout out to our newest intern Julia. Julia has been working with us since the beginning of the summer. She is a junior at Montgomery High School here in New Jersey, is an excellent student and her interests include computer science and marching band.

no-cyberbullyingThe latest project that she has been working on is a new teen cyberbullying survey.

The rise of cyberbullying, and the increased interest in it, has tracked closely with the rise of cell phones and social media. There have been dozens of cyberbullying surveys over the last few years, but things are changing so quickly with the internet and social media that we are very interested in seeing some current data. Some of those surveys have included in their sample both parents and teens. We wanted to do one that just focuses on teens, and that’s exactly what we have here.

If you are a teen, we would love to have you fill out the survey. It just takes a few minutes. If you are a parent, please ask your teens to fill it out, or share it with friends.

THIRDPARENT CYBERBULLYING SURVEY

We’ll be back with a summary of the full results next month. If you want to see the results, look for the blog post by following us on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter below.

 

 

If you are worried that your teen or tween is at risk, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

 

 

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

 

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

Introduction to Safety Net of PA

If you’re located in the Mid-Atlantic and your school, club, team or organization catering to youths is looking to get smarter about digital education and safety I have some good news for you – there’s a new resource available in the area. It’s called Safety Net of PA.

Safety New of PAI had the pleasure of having dinner last night with the founder, Joe Yeager, and was pleased to find that we share a lot of the same philosophies when it comes to digital parenting. We both believe in a hands-on approach, while at the same time respecting the privacy of our, and all kids. We understand that when it comes to our teens, implementing an outright ban on the latest technologies is likely to backfire. We don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all solution to all potential digital risks and problems.

I first met Joe online, on Facebook. We are both members of the group Social Networking Safety, which you should definitely check out if you’re the parent of kids who are active online, or about to be.

Joe’s decision to start Safety Net was driven by his passion to keep kids safe, and his desire to help all kids use the available tech resources in the most constructive way possible.

Joe is available to lead seminars, for kids or parents, and his most popular talks span a number of topics including:

  • Digital Parenting
  • Building Influence Online
  • Social Grand Parenting
  • Managing Your Digital Footprint
  • Standing Up To Cyberbullying
  • Chatting and Texting

If you’re planning an event in the area, I strongly recommend that you consider Joe and Safety Net. For more great free resources, you can visit his website or Safety Net on Facebook.

 

If you are worried that your teen or tween is at risk, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

 

 

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

 

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

YouTube Updates Cyberbullying Policy

ThirdParent YoutubeGood news and bad news for YouTube users – especially young users. The video network has updated its harassment and cyberbullying guidelines, and they are much more strict than the previous version.

The good news here is that it’s time for YouTube to take a tougher stand. Cyberbullying is more prevalent on YouTube than most parents realize, in our experience, and exists in two forms: cyberbullying in the comments section, which is rampant, and original videos that call out an individual in a less than kind way. The latter type of video certainly exists, but the rules seem like they will be awkward to implement fairly since there is a fine line between satire (which society mostly tolerates) and harassment or cyberbullying.

The new rules, in their entirety:

Harassment may include:

  • Abusive videos, comments, messages

  • Revealing someone’s personal information

  • Maliciously recording someone without their consent

  • Deliberately posting content in order to humiliate someone

  • Making hurtful and negative comments/videos about another person

  • Unwanted sexualization, which encompasses sexual harassment or sexual bullying in any form

  • Incitement to harass other users or creators

The bad part of this change is that some satirical accounts are already having videos deleted. In one example, YouTuber RiceGum posted a video for his 2.3 million followers in which he criticized the Instagram account of a 10-year old girl, the daughter of a rock star. In the video, he said:

“[she] wears “quite a bit of makeup for her age,” and sarcastically claims, “Wow, they grow up so fast, already learning how to, you know, arch their back a little bit, kinda, you know, poke out the behind area.” The comedian also notes that Instagram’s Terms of Use state that one must be at least 13 years old to have an account.”

That video has been removed.

We are all for social networks policing cyberbullying, but we hope that YouTube can do a good job responding to genuine harassment without stifling too much comedy or creativity.

 

 

If you are worried that your teen or tween is at risk, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

 

 

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

 

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

Europe Forces Tech Giants to Tackle Terrorism, Hate Speech

It’s no surprise that hate speech including support of terrorism is a serious issue on social media sites and perhaps even multiplayer gaming platforms. Europe, in conjunction with a group of tech heavyweights, is taking some more serious steps to combat it.

The European Commission, the Continent’s governing body, announced today that it has reached a landmark agreement with Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter wherein the popular tech platforms will voluntarily take steps to combat not only the creation and sharing of terrorist propaganda, but also some forms of person to person cyberbullying and hate speech.

European CommissionAs part of the agreement, the companies have agreed to:

  • Develop clear rules outlining what types of hate speech are not permitted
  • Improve the ability of users to report abuse on their platform
  • Upon notification, remove “the majority” of hate speech from their network within 24 hours
  • Cooperate with other social media and technology platforms to share best practices
  • Cooperate with European Union countries when indications of terrorist support are uncovered

The overarching goal is to ensure that hate speech is policed as strictly on social media as it is on traditional media platforms, while still preserving freedom of expression. Where they draw the line is that speech that “offends, shocks or disturbs the State or any sector of the population” is not prohibited; but serious incitement to violence and hatred is.

 

 

If you want to make sure your teen is not at risk, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

 

 

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

 

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.