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.

ig-cutting-1

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.

.

.

.

ig-cutting-2

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.

.

.

.

.

.

ig333

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.

.

.

.

ig444
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.

 

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.

 

Reddit Now Helps You Avoid the Trolls

Reddit is seen by many causal users and most who don’t use it as one of the Wild West corners of social media. Almost anything goes, and that makes it fertile hunting ground for the millions of trolls out there.

Trolls aren’t going away any time soon, as taunting-as-sport seems to be a full time hobby for some social media users of a certain personality. Reddit is trying to help.

snooThe help, however, comes in the form of something that looks like the shadowban that they used to deploy.

If you’re not familiar, a shadowban is an action by a social network wherein a user who gets reported for harassment is still allowed to post content, comments and send messages but those posts will be invisible to all other users. When in effect, the shadowbanned user was never informed of his change in status. Reddit figured out that there were better ways to do things and discontinued the practice last year.

This week Reddit is announcing a new “block user” feature. If someone is annoying, harassing or threatening you on Reddit, in addition to or instead of reporting that user and relying on Reddit to make things right, you can block them. When blocked, private messages and comment replies from that other user will not be visible to you. As with the shadowban, however, the other user will not be informed that he has been blocked.

Reddit is also taking a little heat already for not being more transparent, or not banning abusive users entirely, but it probably speaks to how difficult it is to define what behavior is truly abusive. With this solution, if you don’t want to see someone’s comments, you don’t have to.

We’re big fans of Reddit, which is an unpopular stance in the digital parenting crowd. Sure, it has lots of adult content, and more than its fair share of trolls and bullies, but for teens mature enough to avoid the rough spots, there is also a wealth of engaging, entertaining and educational content.

No solution is perfect, and we’re glad that Reddit continues to take steps to make its platform more user friendly. We’ll be watching this one carefully.

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?: The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). You can cancel at any time. 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.

 

Study Links Teen Hospital Visits to Cyberbullying

A new study from Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island reveals a shocking fact; almost half of teens seen in hospital emergency rooms had been victims of cyberbullying. The survey’s creator, Dr. Megan Ranney, also found that almost one quarter of the teens exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

You can check out the Fox news video below for more comments from Dr. Ranney.

More detailed findings from the survey, in which study researchers questioned 353 teen patients at the hospital:Hasbro Children's Hospital

  • 47 percent of the teens reported experiencing physical peer violence
  • 47 percent reported being a victim of cyberbullying
  • 59 percent experienced exposure to violence in the community
  • 23 percent exhibited current symptoms consistent with PTSD
  • 14 percent had moderate or higher symptoms of depression
  • 11 percent reported having suicidal thoughts within the past year

According to Dr. Ranney:

“These results should serve as a reminder to parents, schools and physicians that these problems are prevalent in our community. This study also highlights that teens with a history of cyberbullying or peer violence are more likely to have PTSD, which is a very treatable disease if properly identified and addressed.”

The focus of the study appears to have been PTSD in teens, but one of our key areas of focus at ThirdParent is cyberbullying, Since, according to the study, cyberbullying appears to be a key factor causing teen PTSD, we’ like to see more attention paid to teen cyberbullying.

Teens are already exposed to lots of messaging, in school and in the media, telling them that cyberbullying is a bad thing. That message isn’t getting through. The focus here has to be the parents.

First, parents need to go to whatever lengths necessary to make sure that their child, when using personal electronics, is not a cyberbully. Cyberbullying can take many forms, and is easily hidden from parents. Frequent conversations about what your teen is doing online, with parents taking a genuine interest and understanding how teens are using the web and social media, are key. The first step in stopping cyberbullying is making sure your kids aren’t the bullies.

Second, as a parent you need to bend over backwards to understand not only whether your child is being cyberbullied, but how her online interactions make her feel. If something online doesn’t look exactly like cyberbullying, but makes her feel sad or embarrassed or ashamed, make every effort to offer the help and support that she needs.

Need help? We’re happy to offer a second opinion.

 

 

DID YOU KNOW: The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). You can cancel at any time. 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.

 

Online Harassment – Bystanders and Upstanders

We weren’t at the South By Southwest festival this month, and so we missed a series of panels that we very much would have liked to attend. The Online Harassment Summit convened a dozen or so sessions that covered topics from “Is a safer, saner internet possible?” and “Bullying, today’s youth and the internet.”

In one of the panels, covered by the Washington Post, panelists talked frankly about preventing and dealing with harassment. The money quote, and one we totally agree with, came from a Facebook rep:

No Cyberbullying
By Internetsinacoso (http://noalciberacoso.blogspot.com)

“There’s research out there saying that when it comes to bullying, the overlooked but very important party is the bystander,” said Facebook’s head of policy management, Monika Bickert. “If we can find ways to help people feel motivated and empowered to speak on behalf of others, that’s going to go a long way.”

We written before about the opportunity each of us has to be an upstander rather than a bystander. By the way, our home state of New Jersey proposed a resolution to have the word upstander added to dictionaries. Whatever can be done to raise awareness.

Everyone can play a role in this. Parents, kids, teachers, politicians, celebrities, athletes and the media can all lend a hand.

As a parent, I’m sure you’ve impressed upon your kids how important it is to avoid bullying others. Have you also had conversations about the importance of standing up for victims?

If every young internet user (all young people) made it a point of helping one victim per week, or standing up to one bully occasionally, the world, and not just the online world, would be a better place. Parents, even if you’ve talked with your kids about being an upstander, please revisit the topic frequently:

  • It’s never okay, and not funny, to cyberbully another person
  • If you see someone you know being harassed online, try to offer a kind word
  • If a cyberbully is getting laughs at the expense of others, do not join in, ever
  • Using an anonymous account doesn’t make cruel behavior okay
  • If you can do so without putting yourself at risk, stand up to cyberbullies and let them know you don’t approve of their behavior

Sure, the social networks need to do a better job policing harassment, but each and every user can help as well. Make sure that your kids are doing their part.

 

 

 

NEW: For a limited time the ThirdParent audit is FREE (normally $49). You can cancel at any time. 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.

 

Peeple App is Back, And It’s Terrible

A new people-rating app called Peeple was signaling a debut last fall but it was met with press that was almost exclusively negative. It looked like a bad idea that wasn’t going to get off the ground, which would have been fine with us. We wrote at the time, “Peeple might be the worst app ever.”

Sure enough, the app went into hibernation and was quickly forgotten.

Peeple app logoThe folks behind Peeple decided to relaunch the app last week and the press are again completely unforgiving.

USA Today: Peeple app [is a] new low for online comments

Neurogadget: Peeple App is the New Yelp for People, and it’s Scary

Chrissy Teigen via CBS News, “In an age where both truth and gossip on the Internet can literally ruin lives, this #peeple app is horrible AND scary.”

The idea behind the app is that new users connect using their Facebook account, then can write a review for any person, positive or negative. You don’t have to be Facebook friends to write a review. If the person you review is not yet a Peeple user, you can invite them to join and see your review.

Imagine your teen getting the following message via Facebook: “Person X has reviewed you. Download the Peeple app to see what they said about you.” There aren’t many teens who would ignore a message like that.

If Peeple takes off, you can expect a new wave of cyberbullying, teacher bashing and random trolling.

To be fair, Peeple users do have some protections, but only if they’re willing to join Peeple. For example, after joining, new users can decide which reviews appear in their profile. If you do choose to join to see the reviews, and make the negative ones hidden, they aren’t deleted, they are just hidden. Only the reviewer can delete a review. And as TechCruch reports, the company plans to open all reviews to paying members at some point in the future.

The app’s stated age limit is 21, but don’t expect that to stop anybody. If your teen downloads Peeple, or is tempted to, we strongly suggest that you discourage them.

 

 

NEW: For a limited time the ThirdParent audit is FREE (normally $49). You can cancel at any time. 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.

 

Infographic: Is Your Teen An Internet Troll?

We’ve written about internet trolls before, and if you spend any time online, you’ve probably seen some firsthand. Maybe you’ve even been the victim of one.

internet-trollTroll (noun) – an internet user who does or posts something with the deliberate intent of getting a reaction, harassing someone or derailing a conversation

Some trolling is truly harmless, some Is meant to be harmless and ends up missing the mark, and some is downright cyberbullying. Since your teenage kids, like most, are active online, they have probably seen a great deal or trolling. While it may start out as playful banter, it is important that (a) your teen deals with trolling appropriately when on the receiving end, and (b) is not a troll himself.

The best response to trolling is to ignore it entirely. In extreme cases, you can block or report the aggressor.

If your teen is the troll, the situation might be complicated. If the trolling is mean-spirited, tell your teen to stop. Even if your child is trolling entirely in jest, it can cast him in a very bad light. Imagine that someone goes looking for your teen online – perhaps a college admissions officer or future employer – and is looking to make a character judgment. You don’t want to trust that that person gets the joke. It’s far better to encourage your teen not to troll in the first place.

If you’re looking to talk to your teen about whether he is guilty, or how to avoid trolling, check out the infographic below from Infomania: Internet Troll Flowchart

 

are-you-a-troll

 

If you want a second opinion, you’re in luck. For a limited time the ThirdParent audit is FREE (normally $49). You can cancel at any time. 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.

 

Twitter Gets Serious About Abuse

Twitter has always had policies that put some restrictions on abusive behavior. Enforcing those policies has been difficult, or Twitter hasn’t been all that serious about it. That may have changed this week. You can read the new Twitter rules here.

In a blog post yesterday announcing the policy update, Twitter laid out the inherent difficulty – they view the protection of free speech as the cornerstone of their platform, and therefore their censorship and enforcement efforts:

twitter-tags“Over the past year, we’ve taken several steps to fight abuse in order to protect freedom of expression: We’ve empowered users with tools for blocking, muting, and reporting abusive behaviour, and evolved our policy to capture more types of abusive behaviour. We’ve also increased our investment in policy enforcement so that we can handle more reports with greater efficiency, and bolstered educational resources through a new Twitter Safety Centre.”

In our view, it doesn’t need to be that difficult a line to draw. Freedom of expression is a great cornerstone for a policy, but it’s not the only valid reason for cracking down on hateful users. If a user is abusing another user, Twitter could have proactively taken action. Instead, they have largely relied on users reporting the abuse after it happened, or defending themselves by blocking the abuser.

Being proactive may be more difficult than it appears. Undoubtedly, some tweets that appear to be abusive may be considered protected free speech. Now Twitter has unveiled their new rules on harassment, which include the following:

Harassment: You may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Some of the factors that we may consider when evaluating abusive behavior include:

  • if a primary purpose of the reported account is to harass or send abusive messages to others;
  • if the reported behavior is one-sided or includes threats;
  • if the reported account is inciting others to harass another account; and
  • if the reported account is sending harassing messages to an account from multiple accounts.

Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.

The rules look good; how Twitter enforces them, and how proactive they will be, remain to be seen. Time will tell.

A note to parents: If your teen is using Twitter, he is very unlikely to read these rules. It’s a good idea to go over the rules with him, and discuss how they might apply. Many tweets which begin as jokes can devolve into cyberbullying.  We are heavily in favor of Twitter being a kinder, gentler place for young users.

 

 

NEW: For a limited time the ThirdParent audit is FREE (normally $49). You can cancel at any time. 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.