Thursday, October 21, 2004
Monday, October 18, 2004
By Emilie Le Beau, Special to the Tribune. "Banish the bully" sidebar by the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram.
5 October 2004
Copyright 2004, Chicago Tribune. All Rights Reserved.
You're so stupid. You're so ugly.
These mean messages were popping up every night on Alyssa A.'s instant messenger. Alyssa knew the sender, a boy from school.
"He found out my screen name and he'd scare me," says Alyssa, 14, of Wyckoff, N.J. "Every time I went online, I was worried he would go online and call me names."
After two weeks of being cyberbullied, Alyssa told her parents. They threatened to call the police, and the bully backed down. "He would not let off until my parents got involved," she says.
Computers are awesome for chatting with friends, but they're also an anonymous way for bullies to harass you. By sending mean e-mails or cruel IMs, kids can bully hours after the school bell has rung.
And with so many kids online, it's not hard for bullies to find someone to pick on.
Forty-two percent of kids say they've been bullied online, according to a survey by Internet safety group i-SAFE. Lots of kids can get mean behind the mouse too: 53 percent of kids surveyed by i-SAFE said they've typed hurtful or angry things online.
For Alyssa, being bullied online "was emotionally troubling." She says she stopped using the computer for months afterward.
Cyberbullying can be more than just a bunch of nasty e-mails. Alyssa says she's heard of kids using the Internet to blackmail others. "There have been cases in my school where kids have a picture of two people kissing at a party and they spread it to everyone on their buddy list," she says.
Online harassment isn't just between the bully and his or her victim. Bullies love an audience and are likely to tell other kids, says Nancy Mullin-Rindler, director of the Project on Teasing and Bullying at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass.
"They aren't keeping this a secret, somebody else knows," Mullin-Rindler says. "Kids know who else knows--it's just a matter of doing a bit of investigative work."
Bullies who brag about their actions can embarrass you even more. Mullin-Rindler says bullying is about one kid feeling powerful over another. That means kids who are bullied should not feel responsible. "It's not up to them to stop it--they're the victims," she says.
And firing an insult back at the bully doesn't work. "The more you get into it with a cyberbully, the more they want to make you mad," Alyssa says. "I've always been one to fight back. Don't. Ignore it and tell your parents."
Skip peer mediation, too--because that's about compromising to end a conflict. The only person who needs to stop is the bully, Mullin-Rindler says. Telling parents or contacting the police are better ways to end bullying.
Kids also can e-mail the Teen Angels for help, Alyssa says. She and 149 other kids worldwide are part of a program through wiredsafety.org that helps kids with cyber safety. They train with the FBI and solve kids' scary cyber issues.
And scary cyber issues don't just involve bullies. Friendships gone sour also can spiral into online harassment.
Alyssa says she's heard of friendships ending and former pals using the Internet for revenge. Kids who know each other's e-mail or IM passwords will log on as their ex-friend and send threatening notes to other kids at school, she says.
Sometimes just chatting online can lead to fights and worse when jokes are misunderstood and taken as insults. Nolan B., 14, of Frankfurt says his friends like to joke through IM. But since you're not talking in person and can't see their expressions, misunderstandings occur, he says.
Nolan says this situation calls for a real chat. "Talk to them at school or call them on the phone," he says. "It's the tone of voice, they can tell when you're joking or serious."
Not being able to hear a person's tone of voice can make a cyber chat seem especially mean. "In real life, you can see and hear what the person is saying. Online, you can't. You read [insults] on the screen and you're, like, ow," Alyssa says.
Are you getting hassled online? Check out www.cyberbullying.ca for more info. And volunteers like the Teen Angels at www.wiredsafety.org can help kids put an end to cyberbullying.
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Banish the bully
Here are some tips for keeping bullies from cramping your cyber style:
- Guard your contact information. Don't give people you don't know your cell phone number, instant messaging name or e-mail address.
- If you are being harassed online, leave the area or stop the activity. Immediately tell an adult you trust.
- If you are being bullied through e-mail or instant messaging, block the sender's messages. Never reply to harassing messages.
- Save any harassing messages and forward them to your Internet Service Provider or e-mail provider (example: Hotmail or Yahoo). Most ISPs have policies that restrict users from harassing others over the Internet.
- If the bullying includes physical threats, notify police.
- Speak out whenever you see someone being mean to another person online.
Saturday, October 16, 2004
STUART ABEL AND DAVID MACAULAY
12:00 - 15 October 2004
Plymouth pupils are to be recruited to teach children about the dangers of the internet in a pioneering scheme. The Teenangels will be specially trained to help protect fellow pupils from the dangers of cyber bullying, grooming and cyber stalking.
The scheme, which is widely used in America, will put the city at the vanguard of a scheme so far pioneered in only one other British city, Bradford.
Plymouth Sutton MP Linda Gilroy was joined by a 20-year-old American director of Teenangels at a launch in Westminster yesterday.
Teams of young people aged between 13 and 18 will be recruited at Lipson Community College and Stoke Damerel Community College to teach fellow pupils how to use the internet safely.
The idea is that they will be able to spread the word about the dangers of the internet to children of their own age, and younger pupils, better than teachers or parents.
Mrs Gilroy hopes the scheme will take off and be extended to more city schools.
The scheme has already been welcomed by Tony Blair, speaking at Prime Minister's Question Time.
He said: "The internet obviously bestows enormous opportunities and benefits, but it also creates the dangers to which she [Mrs Gilroy] draws attention, so it is important that we make sure that we do everything possible to protect our children, who may been gaining access to unsuitable material."
Teenangels, set up by the Wired Safety company in America, have been working in a schools for some time in the US. They are trained in safe use of the internet and arrange sessions with experts and law enforcement officers.
Mrs Gilroy told the launch in Westminster's Portcullis House: "Plymouth is a really good place for this to work. We have strong global links particularly with the US to where the Pilgrim Fathers and indeed the Pilgrim Mothers set sail. Schools are facing an increasing challenge trying to ensure that they protect their computer facilities from this kind of thing."
Brittany Bacon, 20, from New Jersey is the director of Teenangels. She is currently working as Mrs Gilroy's intern. She warned of the insidious dangers of cyber bullying. "It has caused suicides. It can be things such as polls on who is the ugliest girl in the school."
The Teenangels will be given six week intensive courses before embarking on training sessions in the Plymouth schools. The scheme could start running some time next month.
Lipson Community College principal Steve Baker said: "It seems really good. We have a group of youngsters who are really interested in the idea. The Teenangels have worked with agencies such as the FBI in the United States. The internet is something that has changed the world we live in and we must aim to educate young people accordingly."
Friday, October 15, 2004
teenangels in england
Inpatient with waiting for me to arrive in Bradford, England to personally conduct their training, Jennie (the chapter's founder) used sections of my UK and US books, content from our websites and other things to create her own teenangels training manual, and started training them herself.
One of the teenangels from the Bardford, UK chapter has moved to another town and will start a new chapter there, as well.
The teenangels director, herself one of the first teenangels chapter formed in 1999 in NY, will set up new chapters starting in Plymouth, England, and soon in London. The Newham chapter that had become inactive is expected to restart again as well.
want to create a teenangels chapter?
let us know by e-mailing email@example.com
Thursday, October 14, 2004
The event went very well (and we'll share more later), but yesterday, MP Gilroy asked Tony Blair an oral question about teenangels, to which he responded. This process is how the House of Commons works and can be found at www.parliament.uk, by clicking on the house of commons link.
taken from the official transcript this is her question and his response. (IWF is a wonderful group which we support and which has helped train the teenangels over the years.)
"Linda Gilroy (Plymouth, Sutton) (Lab/Co-op): Does the Prime Minister agree that although safe use of the internet opens up worlds of learning and adventure unknown to previous generations of children, it also opens up new dangers of cyber bullying, cyber stalking and cyber grooming, to name but a few? Will he welcome the work of WiredSafety in supporting Teenangels, a group of young people teaching themselves the safe use of the internet? Will he also welcome the launch of their UK activity in Portcullis House tomorrow?
The Prime Minister: I entirely agree about the importance of the issue that my hon. Friend raises and with what she said about the need both to help children use the internet safely and to combat child pornography. As she probably knows, the UK has perhaps the world's best regime for tackling child pornography, the Internet Watch Foundation, and we continue to work closely with the industry, law enforcement agencies and children's charities to seek ways of protecting children from abuse. The internet obviously bestows enormous opportunities and benefits, but it also creates the dangers to which she draws attention, so it is important that we make sure that we do everything possible to protect our children, who may be gaining access to unsuitable material."
and, the PM was right. The UK has a terrific scheme in place to protect kids from harmful activities online, and its Home Office Task Force has done incredible work.
thanks to all! WiredSafety is proud to be part of this initiative!
our thanks to Linda Gilroy for making us part of UK history! :-)