Category Archives: internet security

Sears Tackles America’s Bullying Epidemic Head-On

AscentiveCyber safety news from the Ascentive team

Parents of the 13 million children who suffer from an acute bullying problem[1] can now find solutions at their fingertips. Sears has announced the launch of Team Up to Stop Bullying to address America’s bullying issue, which spikes as students return to classrooms and playgrounds. Team Up to Stop Bullying is the first solutions- and service-based anti-bullying coalition striving to provide immediate solutions that parents and schools can implement today.

“Team Up to Stop Bullying provides much-needed resources to parents, children, educators and communities and will help Americans understand that bullying is a not a normal part of childhood,” said Marie Newman, bullying solutions author and managing director of Team Up to Stop Bullying. “Every seven minutes a child is bullied at school and studies show that schools with an anti-bullying program see a decrease in bullying up to 50 percent. While there isn’t one fix to every bullying problem, there are solutions and services that work. Now, for the first time, there is one simple place to connect to those solutions at sears.com/TeamUp.”

Sears Team Up to Stop Bullying initiative aims to connect those in the throes of a bullying problem to valuable resources with solutions and services provided by a nationwide coalition of more than 55 organizations. The Team Up to Stop Bullying website, sears.com/TeamUp, provides easy access to hundreds of solutions and services for parents and schools from non-profits like: Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Hazelden, publisher of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program; National PTA®; Stand For The Silent; Solutions For Bullying; It Gets Better project; The BULLY Project and End to Cyberbullying.

Celebrities will also “team up” with the coalition to spread the word. The Kardashians, Marlo Thomas, George Kotsiopoulos, Kyle Massey, Jennifer Veal, Lee Hirsch (director of the new BULLY movie) and more, are lending their voices as Team Up to Stop Bullying ambassadors.

“When you’re on the front lines of bullying it’s hard to know where to turn to find immediate solutions,” said Lana Krauter, senior vice president and president of Sears Apparel. “Sears is proud to have created Team Up to Stop Bullying to help families and communities find solutions. We’ve built a tremendous coalition of partner organizations that, like Sears, raise their hand and say that children deserve to be protected and learn in safe environments.”

Sears encourages those affected by bullying to team up in three ways:

1.     Visit sears.com/TeamUp to Find Solutions to Bullying or Take the Power Pledge

  • Find a solution to your child’s unique bullying problem or find a service provider who can assist you or provide counsel in implementing solutions.
  •  Commit to stop bullying and support a movement for positive change in our schools by taking the Power Pledge online at sears.com/TeamUp. The pledge includes committing to never demean, humiliate or be disrespectful toward anyone, to be inclusive and accepting of everyone and to celebrate unique differences. Visitors can also donate to Team Up to Stop Bullying, which benefits non-profit solutions-oriented anti-bullying organizations.

2.     Buy the “BULLY” documentary T-shirt: Show your support with the Team Up to Stop Bullying T-shirt, available for $9.99 at sears.com/TeamUp. Sears is donating $3.75 from the purchase of T-shirts now through October 31, 2012 to Donorschoose.org to benefit The Bully Project®‘s 1 Million Kids program. Donorschoose.org is a charitable organization committed to working with The Bully Project to end bullying and The Bully Project is the outreach arm of the recent “Bully” documentary.

3.     Shop back-to-school at Sears: Sears customers can shop to stop bullying on Sears’ “Super Back-to-School Saturday” (August 11). Customers can download a one-day-only savings pass online at sears.com/TeamUp for 15 percent off on in-store purchases of apparel, footwear and fine jewelry. Sears will donate five percent of in-store purchases using the savings pass (up to $70,000) to its non-profit anti-bullying coalition of partners.

 

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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.

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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.'”

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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.”

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California Youth Leaders visit Harvard for Lady Gaga’s Anti-Cyberbullying Event

AscentiveCyberbullying news from the Ascentive team

On Wedensday, 18 youth leaders selected from communities across the state by The California Endowment take part in the official launch of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, an ambitious new effort focused on empowering youth to be leaders and advocates in their communities.

Led by Lady Gaga’s mother, Cynthia Germanotta, the Born This Way Foundation has partnered with the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The California Endowment and The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard to explore the best ways to reach youth and create a new culture of kindness, bravery, acceptance and empowerment.  BTWF, a non-profit charitable organization, will address issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development through research, education and advocacy.

Youth were selected to attend today’s Harvard conference in recognition of their leadership in The California Endowment’s 10-year $1 billion effort to improve community health in 14 underserved communities across the state.  These communities are working to improve their neighborhoods and schools and the BTWF mission to empower youth advocates to help change the places where they live, work, learn and play is perfectly aligned with the communities’ Health Happens Here initiative to create environments where all can live long, safe and healthy lives.

During the Born This Way launch event, California youth will take part in training to learn how to advance social change through digital and social media advocacy, and will be posting multimedia content live throughout the day of the event.  The youth also join in a Harvard-sponsored youth summit titled “Prevent Bullying, Create Caring Communities” involving more than a hundred young people from Boston and other communities.  California youth also will tour the Harvard University campus.

“We are thrilled to welcome this courageous group of California youth to the official launch of the Born This Way Foundation,” said Cynthia Germanotta. She added, “The bravery and leadership they’ve demonstrated in helping prioritize community health issues in their neighborhoods and schools is exactly what we hope to inspire across the country.”
 
The California youth delegation will be accompanied by California Endowment CEO Robert K. Ross, who believes strongly in the importance of youth leadership in advocating for improved community health.

“Opportunities like this don’t come often and we jumped at the chance to involve some of our Health Happens Here community youth leaders in this unique event that will empower, educate, and inspire them with ideas about how to make they can take back to their communities,” said Dr. Robert K. Ross, M.D., President and CEO of The California Endowment.  “We’re thrilled to have a strong and vocal new ally for our youth in the Born This Way Foundation and Lady Gaga.”

At the conference, The California Endowment and Blue State Digital (a leading digital strategy agency) will cohost a Youth Advocacy Bootcamp at which youth leaders from around the country can be trained in online advocacy and the themes shared by Born This Way Foundation and The California Endowment.

The foundation’s launch day at Harvard will culminate in a keynote address by Lady Gaga, who will be joined by Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Deepak Chopra, U.S Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other luminaries committed to the ideals of the Born This Way Foundation to “lead youth into a braver new society where each individual is accepted and loved as the person they were born to be.”

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Monitoring Service from Gaggle Protects Students from CyberBullyies

AscentiveInternet communication offers a rare window into the lives of students, which presents a tremendous opportunity to provide a positive environment for learning and development. Beginning July 1, 2012, Gaggle will include its Human Monitoring Service (HMS) as a part of its subscription service in order to better protect students and allow educators to focus on teaching.

The Human Monitoring Service puts the monitoring of blocked messages in Gaggle’s hands, eliminating the need for teachers to review questionable communications so they can concentrate on classroom instruction. The Human Monitoring Service greatly improves the safety and security of students, both online and in the real world. Gaggle’s HMS team has uncovered bullying, drug use, threats of school violence, teen depression, suicidal intentions, and abusive domestic situations. Detecting issues early allows parents and educators to intervene positively on behalf of students.

Director of Instructional Technology Cleon Franklin of Memphis City Schools, which currently uses the service, says the additional safety feature offers peace of mind. “The HMS team keeps the job of reviewing inappropriate content off our teachers’ plates,” he said. “An unexpected benefit of the system is the student safety situations that Gaggle has brought to our attention, even after school hours, allowing us to intervene and avoid potential tragedies.”

“Our top concern is student safety, and HMS makes it easier for teachers to protect their students in and out of the classroom,” said Shannon Sweeney, Cyber Security Agent at Gaggle. “Teachers don’t have to worry about monitoring the system themselves, giving them more time to devote to classroom instruction.”

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Patterson of Gaggle said, “This is the final puzzle piece that districts need to safely incorporate social networking into the classroom. Districts using HMS can be assured that communications are being constantly monitored and that safety concerns will be quickly addressed.”

Founded in 1998, Gaggle is a leading provider of safe online communication tools for schools. Gaggle hosts more than 3 million users in the U.S. and 23 countries. Based in Bloomington, Ill., the company is an expert in secure communications and offers proprietary technology and monitoring systems developed specifically for the school environment. Gaggle’s collaboration tools have won numerous education industry awards, including a prestigious CODiE Award in 2011 and Tech & LearningAwards of Excellence in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

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Strides To Stop Bullying Essay Event to Benefit the International Bullying Prevention Association

AscentiveInternet Safety News from the Ascentive team

Nancy Silberkleit, the seasoned anti-bullying and literacy advocate, is proud to announce the Strides To Stop Bullying Essay Event, a new anti-bullying initiative for 2012.  This inspirational event, open to students across the country, encourages youth to share their true stories and insight to raise awareness and stop the harm that bullying and cyberbullying can do.  Led by a panel including Former New York Governor David Paterson, Stan Davis of stopbullyingnow.com andNancy Silberkleit, the contest will raise funds for the International Bullying Prevention Association.  Selected youth will also have their story serve as the inspiration for a forthcoming educational, not-for-profit comic book written by Nancy Silberkleit. Selected essays may also be published anonymously in other ways.

Nancy Silberkleit, co-CEO of Archie Comics, is using her educational training and experience to inspire self-confidence and strength in children of all ages.  The Strides To Stop Bullying Essay Event was conceived by Silberkleit as a way to create an inspired community while also furthering her philanthropic reach. She is currently working on a series of educational comic book focusing on children’s issues such as bullying.  She aims to share her words of strength and inspiration with today’s youth.  She advises, “Never let anyone define who you are.  You know who you are.”

The Strides To Stop Bullying Essay Event, open to all students across the country ages 8-18, will be open for submissions February 1st- May 1st.  To enter, children must write a 250-word true essay on the topic of bullying. They may send their own true story about what made things better when they were bullied, or how they supported someone else who was bullied.  These essays will be used as the inspiration for one of Nancy Silberkleit’s upcoming educational comics.  For the first 200 essays sent in, Nancy Silberkleit will donate $5 per essay to the International Bullying Prevention Association.

“Creating a school environment free of harassment and discrimination has been a long term goal of mine,” says Governor Paterson.  “I’m proud to further align myself with causes such as this contest that encourage our youth to speak out and unite against bullying.”

Children are encouraged to enter throughout the submission period by emailing their 250 word stories and essays to stridestostopbullying@gmail.com.

 

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