Tag Archives: cyberbully

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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ABC’s 20/20 Episode Proposes a solution to Bullying Epidemic

AscentiveCyberbullying news from the Ascentive team

The ABC news magazine show 20/20 recently reported on what one school is doing to help combat the problem of in-school bullying and cyber-bullying. The Alliance School, an alternative Milwaukee public school, uses the Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program to teach students key lessons such as respect and conflict-resolution.

LifeSkills Training promotes healthy alternatives to risky behavior by helping students develop greater self-esteem and self-confidence and by enabling them to effectively cope with stress and anxiety.  Not only is LST the top-rated substance abuse prevention program in schools today; a recent study also showed that LST prevents physical and verbal aggression as well as delinquency and fighting in schools.

“Bullying is an epidemic that affects everyone—victims, bystanders, and the bullies themselves. An effective school-based prevention program can help build an atmosphere in schools so that kids feel safe, and when they feel safe, they learn better and thrive,” said program developer Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin. “I am proud that LST is an integral part of this.”

The Alliance School is a charter school of the Milwaukee Public School system that strives to provide a safe, student-centered, and academically challenging environment to meet the needs of all students. The 6th – 12th grade school, which opened in 05, teaches LifeSkills Training to help reinforce a safe and accepting environment where students are treated fairly regardless of sexuality, ability, appearance, or beliefs.

Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) is a highly effective evidence-based substance abuse and violence prevention program with more than 30 years of peer-reviewed research behind it. Studies testing its effectiveness have found that LST can reduce the prevalence of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use by as much as 80 percent. The program was developed by Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, professor of Public Health and Psychiatry at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College and director of Cornell’s Institute for Prevention Research.

LST has been used with youth in all 50 states, the District of Columbia,Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and in 32 countries around the world. LST is included in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) and has been selected for prevention excellence by numerous organizations including the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (part of the U.S. Department of Justice). Recently LST was selected as a Top Tier prevention program by the Coalition for Evidence-based Policy, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization in Washington, DC. Visit http://www.lifeskillstraining.com for more information.

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Verizon to Educate Youths on CyberBullying

 AscentiveCyberbullying news from Ascentive 

According to a national survey, 57% of teens know someone who has been physically, sexually or verbally abusive in a dating relationship.* Now, South Dakota school children will receive information and resources on what to do if they or a friend is experiencing domestic violence, dating violence and bullying thanks to the partnership between Verizon and the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault (The Network) and The Compass Center in Sioux Falls. Attorney General Marty J. Jackley announced the grants of $20,000 to The Network and$10,000 to The Compass Center from the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, at a ceremony today.

The grant to The Network builds upon a $13,750 grant from the Verizon Foundation in 2010 for a teen education campaign inSouth Dakota. The Network has 20 partner agencies** that work in their communities in collaboration with local law enforcement, and school districts both public, private and tribal to reach teen and pre-teen school children. The curriculum covers teen dating violence, cyberbullying and domestic violence.

“The Verizon funds allowed the Network and member agencies to provide 138 presentations to 3,153 youth last year and due to the demand for presentations, the funds for two years were utilized in one year,” said Krista Heeren-Graber, executive director of The Network.

“The need for prevention education is great and we are excited for the opportunity to partner with Verizon and our member communities for another year.”

The Compass Center will provide teen dating violence and healthy relationship education to youth ages 13 to 18-years-old inMinnehaha, Lincoln, Turner and McCook Counties in southeastern South Dakota. The prevention education programs are planned for The Compass Center, area YMCA/YWCA facilities, after school programs, community centers and Boys and Girls Clubs.

“The goal of the project is to reach out to our youth of today for a brighter and better future tomorrow that helps to end the violence that is taking place in teen dating relationships,” said Patty Brooks, executive director, The Compass Center.

Domestic violence prevention and education are a corporate cause of Verizon. “One of the best ways to prevent teen dating violence, cyberbullying and ultimately domestic violence, is to educate our youth about healthy relationships and what resources are available to help address any problems they, or their friends, may be having,” said Seamus Hyland, president–Great Plains Region, Verizon Wireless. “These educational efforts are important for the communities we serve, for our customers, employees and their families.”

The Verizon Foundation uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention. In 2010, the foundation awarded nearly $67 million to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation’s largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered nearly 6 million hours million hours of community service since 2000.

In addition, Verizon Wireless supports domestic violence agencies around the country through the HopeLine® phone recycling and reuse program. Since 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 8 million phones; awarded more than $10 million in cash grants to prevention and awareness programs nationwide; and donated more than 106,000 HopeLine phones with 319 million minutes of airtime to victims, survivors and domestic violence organizations.

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Parents Outraged over Ugly Meter

AscentiveCyber safety tips from the Ascentive team

Arizona-based developer Dapper Gentlemen is grinning over its app Ugly Meter, which is being touted as an alleged “Bully Tool.” Ugly Meter has reached the 3 million downloads mark in the iTunes app store and shows no sign of slowing down.

As the app gains popularity, parental groups and media outlets alike are outraged that the app, which takes a picture and scans it using facial recognition, generates derogatory and hurtful comments based on your “ugliness score.”

“Your face looks like it was in the dryer with a bunch of rocks,” it might say, or, “When you walk pass a bathroom, the toilet flushes.” These remarks and photos can then be posted on social media networks like Facebook or Twitter, possibly without the victim knowing.

Stephen Balkam, CEO of Washington-based Family Online Safety Institute, told the New York Post: “I can see that the guys who programmed it were having a bit of fun and all … If you’re 25, 26 or 28, this sort of thing could be quite funny or amusing. But in the hands of a 14- or 15-year-old, it could be quite the reverse.”

Now that the Ugly Meter has reached the 3 million users mark, bullies are allegedly using it nationwide in many of our public schools, most likely under the radar of school administrators and staff.

The Harvard Crimson posits that the key is not censorship, but education. “The existence of the Ugly Meter application does make clear the increased need to educate kids about technology as the age at which individuals are exposed to the Internet and applications steadily becomes younger … In the school environment, educators should also look out for their students’ well-being.”

Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, author of “Cybersafe: Protecting and Empowering Kids in the Digital World of Texting, Gaming and Social Media,” seems to agree. “There’s a fine line between teasing and razzing one another … [This app] is just hurtful. It could have crushing blows on kids with low self-esteem. There’s just nothing good that could come from an app like this.”

Awareness Technologies, a cyber-tool development company that many parents use to monitor their child’s online activities, issued a warning to parents, saying, “A newly released $0.99 iPhone app called ‘The Ugly Meter’ is the latest tool that creates opportunities for cyber-bullying, the online pandemic causing severe emotional and psychological pain to children across the nation … Apps like The Ugly Meter are ripe for cyberbullies to use in tormenting their peers.”

So far the creators of the app insist that its purpose is for “fun” and “humorous purposes.” One of the creators, Jo Overline, remarked to news outlets: “All of our insults are PG-rated. We kept it pretty clean on purpose. There will always be bullies out there and we can’t control what they do. Parents need to take responsibility for their own children and stop trying to blame the media.”

For better or for worse, in this modern age of instant messages and social media it’s becoming more difficult to find a space not occupied by the thoughts and opinions of others.

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Anti-Bullying Curriculum presented at NJEA Convention

AscentiveInternet safety news from the Ascentive team

Each day as many as 160,000 U.S. children miss school because of bullying. Students in the Know Foundation, a non-profit group, has launched the Bullying Academy (www.bullyingacademy.org) a web-based interactive program designed to help 4th-8th grade students recognize the dangers associated with bullying and cyber-bullying. The Bullying Academy is already being used successfully in scores of schools throughout New Jersey and across the country and is quickly becoming the leading online educational source for schools to teach kids about bullying and cyber bullying.

Tens of thousands of NJEA (New Jersey Education Association) members from across the state are expected to attend the 157th annual NJEA Convention November 10-11, 2011 in Atlantic City. Recognized as the largest educational gathering of its kind anywhere in the world, the NJEA Convention draws teachers and educational support professionals who participate in over 300 seminars, workshops, and programs. Program founder Tommy Walser and his staff will be available throughout the convention at the Bullying Academy booth 1907.

According to Mr. Walser, “Cyber cruelty is rapidly increasing in volume and complexity because teens are never taught how to act responsibly and appropriately while communicating online or via other electronic devices,” who is also the executive director of Students in the Know. “The Bullying Academy is a simple and free solution to a pressing dilemma: How to teach students that bullying should not be tolerated as merely part of growing up, and that all students have the right to a safe learning environment.”

According to American Justice Department statistics, school bullying statistics and cyber-bullying studies show that on any given month 1 out of every 4 kids are abused by another youth. Thirty-five percent of students report hate-related words being used against them. Bullying has become epidemic as observed in the media through alarming cases of violence and desperation that, in extreme cases, have led to deaths.

“As technology continues to leap ahead schools are falling behind,” adds Walser. “Many school curriculums don’t address bullying prevention, especially cyber-bullying, one of the most common forms of abuse that involves instant messaging and text messaging. Both can occur at any time during the day and are often suffered in silence.”

http://www.bullyingacademy.org requires no additional software or extensive training for teachers. Schools simply register with the program’s website and students immediately have the curriculum available to them. It can be implemented during any class period or extracurricular activity.

Students learn:

Characteristics and risk factors common to bullies

What bullies look for in victims

How to recognize the short- and long-term effects of bullying on victims and bullies

How to properly respond and report bullying

How to avoid violence while standing up for each other

All materials are grade appropriate. A pre- and post-quiz component measures how much students learn after completing the program. Students receive a certificate/diploma which varies depending on their score, and are provided with data reports of how well they performed in certain categories of questioning such as recognizing consequences of bullying or developing effective communication.

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