Category Archives: Cyberbully

Pennsylvania Safe Schools Conference Tackles Bullying

ascentiveCyber safety news from the Ascentive team

The Center for Safe Schools has announced that nearly 500 stakeholders from across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and beyond will convene in Harrisburg for the fifteenth annual Safe Schools Conference May 8-9, 2012. The latest research in school safety and youth violence prevention; as well as effective program models and practices from state and national experts will be presented.

The conference provides school leaders and personnel, law enforcement and community partners with the tools to create a positive school climate; one that supports academic success, learning and teaching in a safe and nurturing environment.

“Specifically, the event includes practical resources and information to deal with safety issues that schools face daily –  bullying prevention, conflict management, emergency response and crisis management, and initiatives to address student mental health issues,” said Lynn Cromley, Center for Safe Schools director.

“The 9/11 documentary ‘REBIRTH’ is included as a tool to inform, enlighten and help professionals prepare for future disasters and better understand the impact of trauma on lives, schools and communities,” Cromley said.

The film is a riveting journey into living history – an act of personal witness to one of the most profound events in American history and the healing that has come in its wake. The result of a decade-long process by director Jim Whitaker, the inspirational story of “REBIRTH” follows the nearly ten-year transformation of five people whose lives were forever altered on September 11, 2001 – and simultaneously tracks via unprecedented multi-camera time-lapse photography the minute-by-minute evolution of the space where the Twin Towers once rose. Both a singular cinematic and human experience, “REBIRTH” is deeply intimate and uplifting – providing a moving portrait of how trauma and grief metamorphose into hope and rebuilding as the human spirit transcends the unthinkable over time.

“The entire Project Rebirth team, especially our five film participants, are pleased and grateful every time educational professionals use our film and film content in advancing their own missions. Applications to date have ranged from teaching the history of 9/11 to advancing the conversation about the need for improved disaster preparation and response in our schools,” said Brian Rafferty, Project Rebirth board chairman.

Following the screening, Project Rebirth’s Advisor for Public Safety and Education, Gregory Thomas, will lead a Q&A discussion about the film including school emergency preparedness and trauma. As the Executive Director of School Safety for the New York City Public Schools during the terrorist attacks, Thomas worked closely with federal, state and local officials to address security and disaster related issues that arose for the many schools in the lower Manhattan area.

“The educational mission of Project Rebirth has been its main driver since filming began six months after the 9/11 attacks: to educate future generations about the suffering of those left behind, and to highlight the strength of the human spirit in the face of the challenges they faced and met over the years,” Rafferty said.

The 2012 conference is presented by the Center for Safe Schools in partnership with the Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Equity Assistance Center; with sponsorship support from the Highmark Foundation.

Photo Credit


Bully Documentary Ignites a National Conversation About the Harmful Mental Health Effects of Bullying

AscentiveCyber Safety news from the Ascentive team

This year 13 million American kids will be bullied and three million students will be absent because they feel unsafe at school, according to the documentary Bully. Bully sheds light on the harmful mental health effects bullying can have and has inspired a national conversation about how parents and educators should deal with this nationwide crisis.

“Bullying is a very serious issue that can result not only in immediate physical injury, but in lifelong emotional scars as well,” said Angela Mohan, a California-based licensed marriage and family therapist and member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. “Bullying in 2012 isn’t the same thing that parents may have experienced when they were young. Teens face bullies at school, home and in the online world. There’s no escape.”

Talking about how to handle bullies and how parents and educators can provide needed support is critically important. Parents and educators need to take action to identify bullying that may be happening now, to stop bullying that is taking place and to prevent it from happening in the future.

CounselingCalifornia.com offers conversation guidance for parents and educators who suspect their child or student is being bullied:

  •      Ask a general, open-ended inquiry: “Is anything going on at school or online with your friends/classmates that you want to talk about”? If the child seems hesitant to open up, don’t force the issue.
  •      Share a personal story: “When I was in high school…” Parents can relate with their child and encourage a conversation by telling a story about a time when they were bullied at school or at work.
  •      Make a direct inquiry: “Are you being bullied”?

On the flip side, if you suspect your child or student is acting like a bully, it is important to talk about the serious and lasting impact bullying can have on children and the potential consequences the child may face for being a bully. Equally important is talking to your child about changing his or her behavior.

CounselingCalifornia.com offers tips for parents and educators who suspect their child or student is acting as a bully:

  •      Sit down and talk to your child or student.  Be gentle but firm in your approach.  Ask open-ended questions to reduce the risk of the child becoming defensive (like, “Tell me what happened,” or “Your actions have hurt someone.  What do you think your consequence should be”?).  Is there any provocation (real or perceived)?
  •      If you are too aggressive (physically and/or verbally) in your response to bullying, you will be reinforcing the behavior.  Some ideas of appropriate consequences are to have the child make amends with the victim (to restore a sense of safety), do a community service, do special chores around the house, or remove a privilege or valued item for a while.
  •      Set clear and firm boundaries as to what is acceptable or not.  Set clear and firm consequences if the behavior continues.  Follow through consistently.

Some kids may be reluctant to talk about bullying. They might be embarrassed, afraid of the repercussions of telling someone or simply uncomfortable talking about it. If this is the case, parents or educators should enlist the help of another adult with whom their child is comfortable, such as an aunt or uncle, school counselor, pastor or talk therapy with a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Photo Credit


More Organizations Launch Anti-Bullying Campaigns

AscentiveCyber Safety news from the Ascentive team

More and more organizations are launching their own campaigns to stop bullying and cyber-bullying. Tanda, a pioneer in energy-based at-home beauty devices, announces its Zap Bullying campaign to raise awareness among parents and teens about this epidemic and to empower teens to feel confident and secure in their own skin.  The multifaceted campaign from Tanda Zap, the powerful acne clearing technology endorsed by leading dermatologists and successfully used by thousands of users across the country, will include a partnership with the national leading anti-bullying organization STOMP Out Bullying™, a social media awareness campaign and a limited edition blue Zap device to support the cause.

“We envision a world in which young people feel safe from bullying and we’re thrilled to partner with the STOMP Out Bullying™ organization. We share their commitment to help people take a stand against bullying in schools and communities,” says Fabian Tenenbaum, CEO of Syneron Beauty, the maker of Tanda branded products.  “Tanda Zap offers ground-breaking acne clearing technology to help teens feel comfortable and secure in their own skin and we hope that this initiative will raise awareness and dialogue around this issue and that ultimately it will serve to help foster greater understanding and mutual respect among teens.”

Tanda Zap invites consumers to “Zap Bullying” and pledge support to this social campaign by visiting its Facebook page, http://www.Facebook.com/Tanda.  “Like” Tanda and then “Vote” to Zap Bullying.  Tanda will donate $1 for each Vote to the STOMP Out Bullying™ organization.

“We are so grateful to have Tanda Zap as a philanthropic partner,” says Ross Ellis, Founder and CEO of STOMP Out Bullying™. “Together we can reach more schools, kids, teens and families affected by bullying with the critical educational resources and support services they need.”

As part of the campaign, the brand will introduce a limited edition blue Tanda Zap acne spot treatment device, from which a portion of proceeds will be donated to STOMP Out Bullying™. The limited edition blue Tanda Zap device will be available for $49 for Back to School 2012.

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, a partner in The Bully Project and a supporter of Lee Hirsch’s new documentary “Bully,” offers educators, students, families and individuals the tools they need to address bullying in schools. By downloading free resources at PACER.org/bullying, communities can find ways to help change the culture of bullying.

“The Bully movie gives everyone a heartbreaking look at the reality of bullying,” says Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. “Our hope is that the movie will be a call to action, and that more people will work together to create a climate that doesn’t accept this behavior.”

Resources available at PACER.org/bullying include bullying prevention classroom toolkits, activities and videos for K-12 students; toolkits for organizing community events around bullying prevention; tips for how parents can talk with their children about the subject and work with schools and more.

PACER’s TeensAgainstBullying.org website offers relevant and interactive information in a teen-friendly way. Teens can find strategies to deal with bullying, ways they can stand up for other kids, and ideas for how they can bring the bullying prevention message to their school. PACER’s KidsAgainstBullying.org website is also specifically designed for elementary-aged children and uses a cast of animated characters to share bullying prevention strategies.

In addition, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLB), AbilityPath and Autism Speaks are partnering with The Bully Project to raise awareness about how bullying affects children with disabilities. Resources and a toolkit will be available soon at specialneeds.bullyingproject.com.

Photo Credit


Bully MPAA Protest Becomes a Movement

ascentiveCyberbullying news from the Ascentive team

“BULLY,” the highly anticipated anti-bullying documentary (in theaters March 30th), has sparked a protest and now a movement, as a number of major movie stars, theater owners, and Members of Congress have joined forces to protest the film’s R rating. In a clear triumph for the film, Gerry Lopez, CEO of AMC Theaters, one of the most prominent theater chains in the world, spoke out against the R-Rating, saying, “To ‘automatically default’ BULLY is a mistake. Automatic default to a rating, a category, a genre… doesn’t matter, is a mistake.  The message, the movie and its social relevance defy that kind of formulaic, conventional thinking. AMC will show this movie, and we invite our guests to engage in the dialogue its relevant message will inevitably provoke.”

Mr. Lopez is one of almost 300,000 people to get behind a petition started by a junior in high school named Katy Butler. Ms. Butler, who has experienced severe bullying herself, started the petition on Change.org after the MPAA ruled by one vote that  “Bully” should receive an R rating due to six swear words. When Mr. Lopez asked one of his sons about the film, curious as to whether the debate had reached the demographic the film is geared toward, his son had already signed onto Ms. Butler’s petition.

The support from Hollywood has been on a steady increase since Katy Butler launched her petition. On March 20, Meryl Streep and her daughter Mamie Gummer will co-host a screening of the film with David Boies, one of the two attorneys responsible for overturning Proposition 8 in California, and his daughter, Mary Boies.  The screening will be held in New York City.

Johnny Depp has also signed on to lend his support; Ellen DeGeneres has devoted time to the film on her television show; and in the sports arena, Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, has also added his voice to the movement.  Kelly Ripa and Anderson Cooper came on board as news anchor partners, hosting a screening in New York City last week, that was presented by Bing, the search engine from Microsoft. In addition to the screening in NYC, Bing will also be supporting the film in a number of ways, including hosting an additional screening in LA.

Iconic American designer Tommy Hilfiger will design an exclusive t-shirt inspired by the Bully movie poster which will be sold in Tommy Hilfiger stores with a portion of proceeds benefiting Facing History and Ourselves (http://www.facing.org/). Mr. Hilfiger is the first of ten designers that The Weinstein Company will ask to donate their services on behalf of the fundraising effort.  IMG, renowned global sports, fashion and media agency continues to support the film in a number of ways, and famed photographer David LaChapelle has offered to donate his talents towards an advertising campaign.

In Congress, Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) issued a bipartisan letter to the MPAA, supporting Katy Butler’s petition, to urge former Senator Dodd, now Chairman of the MPAA, to overturn the ruling. Over 20 Members of Congress have signed on to the letter. The political engagement continues to grow this week while Congress is in District Work Session, with additional support coming from the Senate. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called for a PG-13 rating on Twitter today, and has told The Weinstein Company she intends to play a more active role in this protest.

Last Friday, Justin Bieber joined the cause, telling his fans on Twitter about the movie and encouraging them to stand up for each other. He is currently working with The Weinstein Company on how he can do more for the film.

“We’ve got the MPAA’s attention, and with nearly 300,000 signatures and support from celebrities and politicians, there’s now a national movement of people calling on the MPAA to drop the ‘R’ rating for ‘Bully,'” Katy Butler said. “As someone who lived through bullying day in and day out in school, including having my finger broken by bullies, this film is too important to silence with an ‘R’ rating. Everyone should have a chance to see ‘Bully.'”

Photo Credit


NQ Mobile and NCSA Consumer Survey Shows That Many Parents Lack Awareness of Cyber Bully Threats

AscentiveCyberbullying news from the Ascentive team

NQ Mobile Inc., a leading provider of consumer-centric mobile security and productivity applications, and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a non-profit public-private partnership focused on cybersecurity awareness and education for all digital citizens, today released findings from a recent consumer survey(1) that shed light on how parents think and act in order to protect the mobile privacy and security of their children.

The newly released findings show that a majority of parents have not talked to their children about protecting their privacy when using a mobile phone (56%), or talked to their children about security measures for their phones (63%).

The survey also found that while the majority of parents (71%) are aware of parental controls that can help protect their kids by monitoring usage, establishing time limits and blocking websites, apps, GPS location, and access to personal data, 60% have never used them. Of those surveyed, moms were more comfortable and more likely to have actually used parental controls.

“Too few parents are talking with their children about malware, hacking and other threats to mobile security and privacy,” said NQ Mobile co-Chief Executive Officer Omar Khan. “That is no surprise, when many adults don’t feel they know enough to protect themselves. Talking to your kids about how to protect the personal information on their phones, however, is every bit as necessary as having ‘The Talk’ about ‘the birds and the bees.’ Smartphones can provide a young person with independence and information. Used carelessly, they can also provide hackers, bullies and thieves with access to your child’s personal information, expose them to theft, and even track their location. Parents need to learn more about threats like this, and the very real steps they can take to protect their whole family.”

Parents whose kids own smartphones tend to be less aware of security threats and mobile security solutions that combat those threats than parents whose kids don’t own smartphones. This surprising result may suggest that parents who are highly aware of mobile threats are so concerned they decide not to give their children phones at all.

Overall, parents who are more aware of and concerned about security threats and privacy issues are more willing to talk to their children about them.

“As smartphone use increases, more and more parents are going to be buying mobile devices for their children at earlier ages, and we want to make sure they are armed with enough information to make safe, sensible decisions,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “A young person who is responsible enough to own a smartphone, can also take responsibility for protecting their phone and the information on it. Some security measures are simple and straightforward: create strong passwords and don’t share them with friends or anyone but your parents, exercise caution in sharing personal information online, don’t lose or misplace your phone. We always encourage digital citizens — especially young ones — to take an active role in learning safe practices and behaviors, and follow three simple steps: STOP. THINK. CONNECT.”

Photo Credit