Bully 4u

A not for profit Anti-Bullying service for Irish Schools

Twitter bans bullying. [bostonherald.com, Jessica Van Sack, 23/4/2015]

LESS than three months after its CEO admitted to failing users on abuse, Twitter launched a new plan to end the harassment that has pervaded the social network.

It only took about nine years.

The crackdown on abuse comes in the form of a new POLICY to ban tweets that contain PERSONALthreats or promote violence. Twitter also is testing a tool to filter out tweets that seem likely to contain bullying content. User accounts caught violating the new terms will be suspended for a period of time, the company said.

In February, a leaked memo from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo provided the first indication changes were afoot. Costolo wrote he was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” of the company’s failure to deal with the persistent harassment of its 284 million users.

Yet Twitter’s new policy could lead to its own backlash. Now that Twitter has pledged to boot abusers, expect everyone to start holding the network more ACCOUNTABLE for unpopular Tweets. Anything that slips through the cracks of its new filtering system is fair game for critics.

And then there’s the question of what constitutes a violation. What about a terrorist sympathizer who Tweets, “Death to America”? I personally want the lurking lunatics to remain clearly visible (my guess is that intelligence-gathering officials are likely to want these accounts to remain live as well).

Balancing the network’s purpose as a tool for unvarnished dialogue and users’ rights to remain free from DIRECT abuse is clearly something that Twitter has given a lot of thought.

Whether in Tahrir Square or in our own back yards, used for debating the most contested of public concerns or for sharing the most personal of revelations, we want Twitter to continue to be a place where the expression of diverse viewpoints is encouraged and aired,” Twitter General Counsel Vijaya Gadde wrote in an Op-Ed last week.

But users are sick of being battered. Twitter has become the perfect platform for the dregs of society to unleash their inner beasts in 140 characters. Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling learned that earlier this year when his DAUGHTER was deluged with a slew of heinous Tweets. His public shaming of her har­assers followed the high-profile Twitter exit of pop star Iggy Azalea and others.

It’s likely the bean counters at Twitter determined the ugliness was so widespread that it would drive away enough users to affect the bottom line. But my bet is that a forced exit for so many trolls isn’t exactly going to shore up the balance sheet either. Finally, Twitter is doing something genuinely nice for its users.

We must all play a role to thwart bullying. [pal-item.com, Darcey Meridith, 21/4/2015]

Online social networking sites, blogs and smart phones enable bullies to extend their impact on victims, allowing for around-the-clock harassment that can be public or indelible, making action all the more difficult for parents and school officials.

Research shows that 42 percent of children have been bullied online, and of this group of victims, one in four has experienced this kind of bullying more than once. It is important for children, parents, teachers and community leaders to discuss what can be done to stop this growing epidemic. Below are a few guidelines and suggestions to help parents not only protect their children from being bullied, but also recognize if your child may be the bully.

Tips for Parents

 Monitor your child’s use of technology. It’s important for all parents to be aware of how children are using today’s technology, whether children text or use the Web. Monitor their reactions and emotions when they are online. SIGN UP for the same platforms that your children use, and stay up to date with their online profiles. Look for signs of bullying, depression or other concerning issues. As a parent, your presence is powerful, and you may be able to prevent bullies from harming your child.

 Report bullying behaviors to appropriate officials. Resist confronting the bully or the bully’s parents. Instead, report any unlawful or harassing behaviors to law enforcement. If incidents happen at school, report them to school officials. If your child receives cruel texts, don’t respond. Instead, make copies of them. This evidence may be useful to report to school officials or law enforcement. Set up online filters to block the bully’s messages on social media.

 Educate kids about bullying at an early age. Teach them what bullying means, what to expect as they get older, and ask them to promise to talk to you if someone ever makes them feel bad about themselves. Additionally, talk to your kids about social pressures that could prompt them to bully others, and teach them why bullying is wrong. Look for signs of anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts. Caring conversations with your children can impact their emotional health.

Ask for help. If the torment of bullies becomes too much, contact a mental health professional for help. Reporting the first signs of bullying can decrease its long-term effects.

Even if your child isn’t being bullied, it is still important to talk about the topic with your child from an early age. By having these conversations early in life, you may be able to prevent the negative emotional impact bullying could have on your children in the future.

If your child needs professional help to heal from the emotional scars of bullying, contact a mental health professional. Centerstone’s experts are available 24 hours a day, connecting families to the services they need. If you or a loved one needs immediate assistance, please contact us at 800-832-5442.

Is your child sexting? What you need to know. [wect.com, Stacey Pinno, 22/4/2015]

Statistics show boys and girls as young as 10-years-old are sexting.

“In the middle school we will get comments from 6th graders say things like ‘my boyfriend is pressuring me for sex, how do I know he really likes me?,” said Stacey Kiser, the Rape Crisis Educator at Coastal Horizon Center.

However, it’s not just boys sending pictures to girls, statistics show both genders are sexting at the same rate.

Kiser explained kids usually start by sending suggestive text messages back and forth, but with the influence of the internet, those messages sometimes progress into kids sending nude photos to each other.

“They are on Facebook,  they are on twitter, and people are posting sexy pictures, and then they are getting requests for sex from their friends so it’s just really all around us.” Kiser explained. “Our society has become really sexualized.”

Smart phone app’s like Kik, Snapchat and Tinder all give their users access to rate, post and send pictures back and forth. According Crosswalk.com, those are just a few of the app’s that are considered some of the most dangerous apps for kids.

So Tammy Brown, a mother of five, has taken matters into her own hands.

“My phone provider has a great program set up that if my child makes a phone call after a certain hour, or sends picture messages or texts it sends me an email every day calculating what happened,” explained Brown.

So app’s like Yik Yak, Snapchat, Vine, and even just the good ole fashion text, Brown keeps a close eye.

“Don’t just give them free range of something, and if you see something strange or different, act upon it,” she said.

Kiser also advised all parents to have “the talk” with their kids the day they get a cell phone.

“The great thing is you would have already set those rules, and even if the kid is like ‘What? Who is going to send me a picture of themselves?’ They’ve got that in their head,” she said. “Then as they get older you can really say to them in the car one day to school ‘I watched this news article about sexing, and I know we have talked about that before, but as you’ve gotten older do you know your friends are doing this?’ So I think the time to talk to them is when they get a cell phone.”

If you have questions on how to prevent your child from sexting, Coastal Horizons Center and New Hanover County Schools Family Education are teaming up to have “the talk” with parents.

The program, entitled “The Birds, The Bees, and Sexting: Update,” invites parents and caretakers of children under 18 to come and discover how to overcome challenges surrounding the discussion of sexuality.

Parents will also learn tools to prevent sexual abuse, and learn what information children need to know, and when they need to know it.

The discussion starts Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at Roland Grise Middle School.

Instagram Has New Guidelines That Don’t Allow Nudity, Bullying. [bidnessetc.com, Larry Darrell, 17/4/2015]

Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ:FB) popular photo sharing app Instagram, which was acquired by the social-media giant three years ago, has updated its guidelines for users on Thursday. The new rules specifically disallow nudity and harassment in uploaded pictures.

Since its acquisition in 2012 by Facebook for $1 billion, Instagram’s user base has grown from 30 million to 300 million. But so have its problems – the platform had been facing issues such as cyber bullying. Many parents from various areas in the US had been complaining that their children’s photos are being uploaded with mean captions and offensive comments.

The ap was having trouble handling nudity in uploaded content. There had been hundreds of complaints regarding abuse of such content, to which Instagram has responded quite appropriately in its revised rules, which stated: “We have zero tolerance when it comes to sharing sexual content involving minors or threatening to post intimate images of others.” The new guidelines have strictly disallowed close ups and full shots of buttocks.

However, the new community guidelines have maintained a fine line between art and pornography. The platform specifically mentions that it does allow “photos of post-masectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding” apart from nudity in an artistic or harmless form of expression such as in sculptures and paintings. This is an improvement on the old guidelines, which debarred all pictures including any type of nudity, which had offended many users. Users such as Canadian woman named Heather Bays had her account deactivated after Instagram removed a photo that showed her breastfeeding her 20-month-old daughter. Even though her account was reactivated later, this activity has been offending to Ms. Bays. The platform took down a lot of pictures that included explicit portrayal of pubic hair and nipples.

Instagram has changed the overall tone of its new guidelines, which is reflected by the reduction in the number of instances the word “please” is used. In fact, the revised guidelines have a rather commanding tone, as they go on to say: “Overstepping these boundaries may result in a disabled account.”

So Why Did Instagram Do This?

With the fast-paced growth Instagram achieved in a rather short time period, it developed serious issues with all the nude content being uploaded by users on a daily basis. Revenge porn – the online sharing of sexually explicit pictures without obtaining consent of the person in the picture – was becoming common. So was pornography, cyber bullying, and harassment. In 2013, the company was also questioned by the BBC on pictures of illegal drugs for sale being shared on the platform by users. Had the company not taken the step it did yesterday, it might as well have faced legal scrutiny.

Prior to this move, Instagram was facing critical responses by celebrities on its old guidelines. Last week, pop music icon Madonna criticized the platform for having “hypocritical” standards. She protested against its policy to allow pictures of buttocks but not of female breasts, by uploading a nude picture of her that censored her nipples.

To address these issues, the company did the right thing by fine-tuning its community guidelines. Instagram’s Director of Public Policy Nicky Janson said she aims to “create a standard that most people can live by.”

 

 

 

Australia’s new cyber-bullying watchdog. [lexology.com, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, 17/4/2015]

Thousands of businesses use social media to provide a platform to interact with children and young people and to allow children to communicate with each other. The issue of cyber-bullying has long been a concern for children, parents and the operators of these social media platforms.

On 24 March 2015, the Federal Parliament of Australia passed the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act 2015 (the Act), with support from all major Australian political parties.

The Act seeks to enhance online safety for children through the establishment of a Children’s e-Safety Commissioner (Commissioner) and the implementation of a complaints system to remove cyber-bullying material targeted at Australian children from social media sites, such as Facebook. Failure to comply with the Act can result in significant fines.

CYBER-BULLYING PROTECTION FOR SOCIAL MEDIA AND BLOG SITES

Social media is entrenched in modern life. Companies rely on it to attract, advertise, retain and communicate with their clients and the world at large. At an individual level, it a primary method of communication between people of all ages and particularly between children and young people. Social media takes many forms: from ubiquitous applications like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to “in game” social forums that are a regular part of online gaming, to simple chat rooms, blogs and even websites that allow people to communicate with each other in “comments” sections.

In ‘first of its kind’ legislation passed by the Australian Federal Government, the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act 2015 requires all organisations that provide a platform for people to post communications on the internet to have specific child protection terms of use that prohibit cyber-bullying and provide a mechanism for complaints of cyber-bullying to be received and for offending material to be removed. The Act targets material targeted at a particular Australian child that would have the effect of seriously threatening, intimidating, harassing or humiliating that Australian Child (cyber-bullying material).

The Act establishes the office of a Children’s e-safety Commissioner, to administer a complaints system monitor and require organisations to remove social media posts consisting of cyber-bullying material, and can seek injunctions and levy fines.

The Act applies to any social media service – which is any electronic service with a primary purpose of enabling social interaction between 2 or more end-users, where end-users post material under the service.

WHAT ARE THE COMMISSIONER’S FUNCTIONS?

The Commissioner is an independent statutory office within the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Alastair MacGibbon has been announced as Australia’s first Commissioner. Mr MacGibbon was the founder of the Australian Federal Police’s High Tech Crime Centre.

The Commissioner’s primary role is to administer a complaints system for cyber-bullying material targeted at Australian children. In conjunction with this, it also oversees the compliance of social media services with the Act’s basic online safety requirements (see below for more detail).

The Commissioner is also responsible for promoting online safety for children; coordinating activities of federal government departments, authorities and agencies in this regard; and reporting to the Minister for Communications (Minister) on children’s online safety issues.

WHAT ARE THE BASIC ONLINE SAFETY REQUIREMENTS?

To comply with the Act’s basic online safety requirements, a social media service must:

  • include a provision in its terms of use that prohibits end-users from posting cyber-bullying material on the service, or an equivalent provision;
  • have a complaints scheme under which end-users of the service can request the removal of cyber-bullying material that breaches the service’s terms of use;
  • designate an employee or agent as the service’s contact person for the purposes of the Act, which must also be notified to the Commissioner.

There is an expectation in the Act that each social media service will comply with the basic online safety requirements. While the Commissioner can publish a statement of non-compliance on its website, non-compliance is not otherwise enforceable.

HOW DOES THE COMPLAINTS SYSTEM WORK?

A complaint can be made by or on behalf of an Australian child if the complainant believes cyber-bullying material targeted at an Australian child is accessible or delivered to one or more of the end-users using a social media service.

As above, “cyber-bullying material targeted at an Australian child” is material that an ordinary reasonable person would conclude that was likely intended to have the effect of seriously threatening, seriously intimidating, seriously harassing or seriously humiliating a particular Australian child, regardless of whether the particular child accessed the material.

A complaint to the Commissioner can only be made if a complaint has already been made to the relevant service, and evidence of that complaint must be provided to the Commissioner. The Commissioner will only proceed in cases where the service has not removed the offending material within 48 hours of receiving the original complaint.

The Commissioner has powers to investigate each complaint and conduct the investigation as it sees fit. Following investigation, the Commissioner can:

  • request a tier 1 social media service to remove the material; or
  • issue a notice to a tier 2 social media service to remove the material; and/or
  • issue a notice to an end-user who posted the material to remove it, refrain from posting further cyber-bullying material and give an apology.

The difference between tier 1 and tier 2 is described further below.

If a tier 2 service or end-user who receives a notice fails to remove the relevant material within 48 hours, the Commissioner can take enforcement action. For a tier 2 service, that can include a fine of up to $17,000, an enforceable undertaking or an injunction. The Commissioner can also issue a formal warning and publish a statement of non-compliance on its website.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TIER 1 AND TIER 2 SOCIAL MEDIA SERVICES?

The key difference between tier 1 and 2 services is the fact that the Commissioner can take enforcement action against a tier 2 service, but not a tier 1 service.

A social media service can apply for tier 1 status, and that status will be granted if the Commissioner is satisfied the service meets the basic online safety requirements.

A social media service will only be determined to be a tier 2 service if the Minister makes a declaration to that effect by legislative instrument. This will only occur if it is a large social media service and the Commissioner makes a recommendation it should be categorised as such, or if the service requests tier 2 status.

IMPLICATIONS

The new legislation has important implications for both social media providers and corporations and institutions that work with children.

For companies that provide social media services (in any of its many forms), there are a range of matters that must be acted upon to ensure compliance with the Act.

For organisations that work with children, it will be important to understand what can be done to prevent cyber-bullying, in order to minimise harm to children.

 

10 Strategies to Help Kids Use Smartphones Wisely and Prevent Cyberbullying. [huffingtonpost.com, Signe Whitson, 17/4/2015]

He’s been borrowing yours every day. Both kids have so many after school sports that they really could benefit from having a phone to call you when their practices are over. You’ve hemmed and you’ve hawed, but finally you’ve given in and bought your child a smartphone. Now, the challenge begins: How do you ensure that he or she uses it wisely? Here are 10 guidelines to promote respectful, responsible use of your child’s new gadget:

1. Have Rules

Only a few short years ago, all your kids ever asked for were playthings — Legos, Barbies or just about anything to do with Disney. Help your young person understand that this gift of a smartphone is qualitatively different than presents of the past. A smartphone is not a toy; it is a tool. While parents may hope and pray that it is a tool used for safety (i.e. so that parents can easily get in touch with their child at any point in the day), most kids use their phones primarily for socializing (read: to call, text, Instagram, Kik, Facebook and otherwise connect with their peers at any point in the day.)

Either way, I exaggerate not when I encourage you to spend as much time and care teaching your child how to ethically use a smartphone as you would instructing him in how to wield a power tool. Am I comparing a smartphone to a chainsaw? Well, sort of. Surely, both can do a lot of damage when used incorrectly. So, the first rule for safe smartphone use is to make clear the fact that unlike the creative freedom that came with yesteryear’s gifts of Play-Doh and Crayola sets, there are firm rules for smartphone use (see below for a few key ones) and that accessing their smartphone will be contingent upon following these rules. Period.

2. Set Limits on Usage

In terms of rules, a good place to start is with setting reasonable guidelines on usage. At first, you might think it’s great that your young person is making such good use of their expensive new gift — until you realize that she has not had a face-to-face conversation with a peer in weeks. Much less a decent night’s sleep. Compulsive technology use develops very quickly for many young people whose developing brains seem especially susceptible to the lure of compulsive status updates, continuous checks for incoming texts and constant over-sharing. Setting limits on usage from the start can help prevent technology from becoming all-consuming for kids. Consider the specifics that are right for your family, in terms of:

    • Who your child is allowed to call?
    • How many minutes does her calling plan allow her to use each month?
    • Is your child permitted to text? How many texts are included in your payment plan?
    • What apps is she allowed to DOWNLOAD and use?
  • Are there apps that are strictly off limits?
    • At what time each night must the smartphone be put to bed? (Hint: nestled in a charger, far away from the child?)
    • Can the child bring the smartphone to school? Use it when hanging out with friends?
    • Who pays the monthly cell phone bill?
  • What are the consequences for violating the agreed upon guidelines?

    3. Pay Attention to Netiquette

    The social media apps available via smartphone can be a playground for unfettered harshness. With a few simple clicks, kids guiltlessly post cruel messages and taunts that they would never dare say to a peer’s face. Parents should set very specific rules about the ethical use of social media sites and be clear that posting mean comments, spreading gossip, forwarding embarrassing photos or taking part in any type of unkind behavior via technology is unacceptable. It is also important to talk to kids about how to treat others while texting. For example, teach kids to ask themselves:

      • Would I say the words I am texting to a person’s face?

     

      • What would my parents think if they read this text?

     

     

      • Could this photo I am sending cause hurt or embarrassment to me, my friends, my family, or anyone else?

     

    • Can my text be taken out of context and used to hurt me or someone else?

    Smartphones can provide a direct route to cyberbullying and relational aggression among young people, so being clear that apps, texts and phone calls are not to be used as tools of gossip, exclusion, or embarrassment, is essential.

    4. Stress Quality Over Quantity

    The advent of social media sites and apps that enumerate your child’s “friends” and “followers” has created a culture in which personal value is measured more by the quantity of people in a social network than by the quality of relationships that your child has with any of them. Remind your son or daughter that real friendship is not measured by a number of friends on a list, a quantity of texts received in an hour or even the simultaneous number of conversations he can have while online. Popularity is about being well-liked in person, rather than avidly followed online.

    5. Don’t Ignore the Friend in Front of You

    Next time you go out to dinner, note the number of people sitting down together for a meal NOT talking to each other. These days, it happens everywhere you go — people gathering in a group only to ignore their companions in favor of the person(s) on the other side of their gadget. Am I just getting old or is it bewildering? Just last week, an 11-year-old sixth grade student lamented to me that she was invited to sleepover at a friend’s house, but all the friend did throughout the night was text with girls not invited over. It made the guest feel rejected, unwanted,and disregarded.

    In this day and age where building up friend lists has become so integral to self-esteem, it’s tempting for kids to try to prove their coolness by having their smartphone out in front of their friends — a way of prominently showing how “in demand” they are. For your new smartphone user, give him the gift of learning how to truly be present with the friend in their presence — to put away their gadget and engage the person they are with.

    6. Maintain Privacy

    Show your child how to set up the privacy features offered by social networking apps. Make sure that these settings protect your child from allowing strangers access to their profiles. Talk with him or her in clear, frank terms about the real dangers of online predators and the serious need to avoid them.

    Since danger online occurs more commonly at the hands of friends than of enemies, it is also critical to teach your child how to “block” comments and contacts by peers who have a history of engaging in cruel online behavior.

    7. Privacy Does Not Include Family Members

    Set clear guidelines for smartphone usage that includes your right to see your child’s phone, browsing history and social media pages on a daily basis. While all parents want to trust their children, social media sites are not the place to start. These apps provide such tempting avenues for kids to engage in risky behavior that it is critical for parents to consistently monitor their usage. Let your kids know upfront that you will be reading posts, reviewing photos and scrutinizing friend lists. This oversight underscores the importance of safe and ethical social media usage.

    8. Teach About Permanency

    Be sure that your child is aware that what happens in cyberspace stays in cyberspace — forever! Though your daughter may think she is posting a suggestive photo for a boyfriend or sending a gossipy message to a best friend, it is up to you to teach her that her note can be cut, pasted and forwarded to an infinite number of people. Make a firm smartphone rule that your child should never post a photo or message that she wouldn’t want to have “everyone” view.

    On that note, consider setting a rule that your child go “photo free” altogether. The network news is chock-full of stories about kids who have gotten themselves into friendship-destroying, reputation-shattering, future career jeopardizing, family-humiliating situations because of photos they have posted online or via text. If your child is just starting out with his new smartphone, why not prohibit him from posting pictures altogether? At minimum, make sure that the photos they share are not suggestive, sexual, or otherwise risky.

    9. Encourage Kids to Take it Slow

    In our world of instant messaging and constant contact, young people are often tempted to say whatever comes to mind in any given moment. Teach your child the benefits of slowing things down and waiting before they post whatever thought, comeback or reaction is on their mind. Especially if they are feeling an intense emotion like anger or sadness, encourage your child to wait until they have had a chance to think things through and cool their heads before they post a message that can’t be taken back.

    10. Know the Lingo

    Are you familiar with these text-friendly acronyms?

      • LOL

     

      • JK

     

     

      • BRB

     

     

      • ATM

     

     

      • MOS

     

    • AITR

    Texting has a language all of its own. Laugh out Loud (LOL), Just Kidding (JK) and Be Right Back (BRB) are common enough, but while most parents take for granted that ATM stands for an Automatic Teller Machine, kids can tell you that it is more likely to refer to their being “at the mall.” What’s more, kids have dozens of coded signals to indicate to one another that “my mother is standing over my shoulder” (MOS) or that adults are in the room (AITR). The more parents educate themselves about the lingo their kids are using, the better able they are to monitor smartphone use and abuse.

 

 

 

 

Facebook users who think they are insulated to cyberbullying are more prone to it: Study. [ibnlive.in.com, 18/4/2015]

This “optimistic bias” or wishful thinking – an intrinsic tendency to imagine future events in a favourable light that enhances positive self-regard – leaves those Facebook users at the risk of developing depression.

“Our findings show novel discrepancies in how people perceive themselves and others concerning the positive and negative outcomes of Facebook use,” said lead author Sunny Jung Kim, postdoctoral research associate from the Dartmouth University.

In the new study, the researchers surveyed 237 active Facebook users between ages 18 and 37.

The participants were asked to assess their own and other people’s likelihood of experiencing positive and negative outcomes on Facebook.

The results show that Facebook users with “optimistic bias” tend to show strong support for internet regulations to protect other users from social ostracising, although not from psychologically negative effects, including depression and loneliness.

“The lack of support regarding psychological harms may be because mental health effects are perceived as less amenable to regulation or because their importance is underestimated,” the authors wrote.

The results also show that Facebook users who view the site negatively or who use it infrequently think other people are more likely than themselves to have positive experiences on the site, a reversed optimistic bias that is new and intriguing.

Although some might argue that it is still premature to claim that Facebook use is a direct predictor of CLINICAL DEPRESSION and suicidal attempts, a growing line of research indicates that negative events such as Facebook cyberbullying can result in detrimental consequences, including depression and substance use problems.

“Without adequate protections, the damage of these critical events can be severe,” Kim noted.

Given that negative personal and health news such as stressful events and DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS are frequently shared on Facebook, it may be an important site for observing negative psychological states of users, the authors concluded.

The findings appeared in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.

Bullied teenagers increasingly want to have cosmetic surgery, says survey. [The guardian, Nicola Slawson, 16/4/2015]

Increasing numbers of bullied teenagers want to have cosmetic surgery, a survey has found.

The annual survey carried out by anti-bullying charity, Ditch The Label quizzed teenagers across the UK on a wide range of topics to do with bullying. It found more than half of the teenagers who responded felt they had been bullied about their appearance.

One in two went on to say they wanted to change how they look, with 56% saying they wanted to lose weight, nearly one in five wishing they could have breast implants and 5% wanting Botox.

Liam Hackett, founder and CEO of Ditch the Label, said the implications of appearance-based bullying are “significant” and can have “devastating, long-term impacts”.

The survey found teens as young as 13 are adding liposuction and breast implants to their wish lists.Hackett said: “The evidence is clear: young people are now considering drastic and invasive measures to alter their appearances due to insecurities and bullying.”

The popularity of image-based apps such as Instagram and the fashion for taking “selfies” may also be contributing, experts say, as so much bullying happens online.

Claude Knights, chief executive of Kidscape, is not surprised that body-image issues are coming to the fore. “It’s a very visual world we are living in now,” she said.

She also believes the use of “impossibly perfect” models and airbrushing techniques used in teen magazines should take some of the blame.

“This commercialisation of childhood leads in too many cases to distorted body image and low self-esteem,” she said.

This, she said, has a knock-on effect to bullying. “In some peer groups failure to conform to an artificial norm leads to bullying and exclusion.”

Teachers who are on the front line of the fight against online bullying and negative body image are having an increasingly harder time controlling the problems.

Paul Kitchener, deputy head of the Priory School in Shrewsbury said: “There has always been bullying at school but it was often very visible. I found it very much easier to deal with bullying at the start of my career than over the last few years.

“We now have very little bullying of a physical nature or actually in the school.”

The vast majority of bullying is now online or via social media. Kitchener said that before the popularity of smartphones, pupils could escape bullying at home. “Now once they close the door at home, the bullying can carry on, with Snapchat, texts and social media.”

The school works to tackle cyber-bullying during IT classes and has a dedicated programme to help pupils deal with body-image worries. School counsellors are also on hand for any pupil with concerns.

Andrea Danese, a consultant in child and adolescent psychiatry at both the South London and Maudsley NHS trust and Kings College London, is studying the link between obesity, bullying and mental health issues. He explains why bullying has such a big effect during teenage years.

“Feedback during this stage is crucial,” Danese said.

“Puberty is a difficult time. They will be trying to define their identity and what others think of them,” he said. This helps explain why some young people may have a distorted body image and want to turn to plastic surgery.

He also warned children who have a trauma in their past may be more vulnerable to the negative affects of bullying.

50 Sexting/Texting Terms and 7 Snapchat Tips Every Parent Should Know. [patch.com, Beth Dalbey, 15/4/2015]

Teens may be naive about the permanence of photos they send using the popular social media application Snapchat. (Photo by Ildar Sagdejev via Wikipedia/Creative Commons)

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Social media apps are ever changing and it’s hard for parents to keep up on the codes teens use to keep them in the dark about they’re saying as their fingertips furiously tap the touch screens on their smartphones and tablets.

Earlier this year, we told you about 50 texting and sexting terms your kids really don’t want you to know. The American Academy of Pediatrics found texting and sexting are a “normal” part of adolescent sexual development, but that doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t worry.

And their worries shouldn’t be limited to the messages kids are sending back and forth on their phones.

Snapchat, an application for iPhones, iPads and Android phones, allows subscribers to quickly send photos that quickly expire, increasing the temptation of teens to send embarrassing photos. The photos disappear, but that doesn’t stop the person on the receiving end from quickly grabbing a screenshot and circulating the photo beyond its intended audience.

Snapchat does notify the sender if the person receiving it takes a screengrab, but there’s a fairly common workaround. A receiver could use a digital camera to take the screenshot, and the photo that supposedly disappeared could be saved on someone else’s device,

That’s Problem No. 1 with Snapchat, according to the parenting website fatherhood.com

Problem No. 2 concerns parents who may be – and experts say, should be – monitoring their teens’ social media use. The photos and messages disappear, so there’s no record that they ever existed.

Problem No. 3: Because photos supposedly evaporate instantly, teens may be more inclined to engage in sexting because they think the risk is lower their photos will be shared on the Internet.

Problem No. 4: Snapchat and Facebook both claim photos can be permanently deleted.Forensics experts have poked holes in that promise, though, and have said photos can be retrieved from smartphones and other devices. And guess what? “You don’t necessarily need crazy forensic tools that allow you … to access the information,” Andrea London, of the forensics firm Stroz Friedberg, told Mashable.

Problem No. 5: Snapchat owns royalty rights to every “Snap,” or photo message, that users send. According to the application terms of use, Snapchat retains “”nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable and transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such user content in connection with the services, subject to your use of privacy settings in the services to control who can see your user content.”

Problem No. 6: You may need a lawyer. In accordance with the terms of use, users accept responsibility for activity occurring while they’re logged into the application. In one case, reported by the familyshare.com website, a 15-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl exchanged explicit photos, which the boy saved and his mother discovered. The families involved addressed and resolved the situation, but because the girl was 14, the boy could have faced child pornography charges and, if convicted, been forced to register as a sex offender.

Problem No. 7: Snapchat can become a runaway train if you don’t talk to your kids about the risks associated with the use. “Parents who allow their children to have SnapChat need to have a real, live, one-on-one chat … about the risks associated with the false sense of security that SnapChat may provide,” fatherhood.com said.

Now, back to the “old school” social media worries.

Here’s the list of 50 terms a Denver television station tested – and stumped – several parents to determine if they could crack the codes their children use when they’re texting or sending online messages on their phones.

A detective with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office told Denver television station KMGH that parents may be missing some red flags “because they don’t know the lingo or the language.”

Here’s a list of commonly used terms:

  1. 8 – it means ate, can also refer to oral sex
  2. 9 – Parent watching
  3. 99 – Parent gone
  4. 1337 – Elite, leet or L337
  5. 143 – I love you
  6. 1174 – the meeting place, meet at
  7. 420 – Marijuana
  8. 459 – I love you
  9. 53X – Sex
  10. ADR – Address
  11. AEAP – As Early As Possible
  12. ALAP – As Late As Possible
  13. ASL – Age/Sex/Location
  14. BROKEN – hung over from alcohol
  15. CD9 – Code 9 (parents are around)
  16. C-P – Sleepy
  17. F2F – Face-to-Face
  18. GNOC – Get Naked On Cam
  19. GYPO – Get Your Pants Off
  20. HAK – Hugs And Kisses
  21. ILU – I Love You
  22. IWSN – I Want Sex Now
  23. KOTL – Kiss On The Lips
  24. KFY or K4Y – Kiss For You
  25. KPC – Keeping Parents Clueless
  26. LMIRL – Let’s Meet In Real Life
  27. MOOS – Member Of The Opposite Sex
  28. MOSS – Member Of The Same Sex
  29. MorF – Male or Female
  30. MOS – Mom Over Shoulder
  31. MPFB – My Personal F*** Buddy
  32. NALOPKT – Not A Lot Of People Know That
  33. NIFOC – Nude In Front Of The Computer
  34. NMU – Not Much, You?
  35. P911 – Parent Alert
  36. PAL – Parents Are Listening -or- Peace And Love
  37. PAW – Parents Are Watching
  38. PIR – Parent In Room
  39. POS – Parent Over Shoulder or Piece Of Sh**
  40. pron – Porn
  41. Q2C – Quick To Cum
  42. RU/18 – Are You Over 18?
  43. RUMORF – Are You Male OR Female?
  44. RUH – Are You Horny?
  45. S2R – Send To Receive
  46. SorG – Straight or Gay
  47. TDTM – Talk Dirty To Me
  48. WUF – Where You From
  49. WYCM – Will You Call Me?
  50. WYRN – What’s Your Real Name?

Robert Campbell sentenced to 6 years for cyberbullying campaign. [CBC News, 16/4/2015]

An Ottawa man who targeted dozens of people with fake social media ACCOUNTS and doctored photos in an international cyberbullying campaign has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Robert Campbell, 42, pleaded guilty to 63 charges of identity fraud, defamation and criminal harassment in a case that involved dozens of people across Canada, the U.S. and U.K.

The Crown had been SEEKING a sentence of eight years in prison for his crimes, while the defence argued for a lesser sentence of three years.

With time served, Campbell’s sentence WORKS out to four years and 11 months.

Campbell sat in the Ontario Superior Court in Ottawa and LOOKED at Judge Ann Alder during the entire sentencing, seemingly paying close attention to her words, often nodding in agreement.In handing down the sentence, Alder said Campbell showed a willingness to turn his life around and had told court he has the support of his wife.

8-month investigation

At his sentencing hearing, Campbell apologized for his behaviour, saying to victims in the courtroom, “I will never trouble you again.”

Campbell was charged in August after an eight-month investigation involving law enforcement agencies in B.C., ONTARIO, New Brunswick and Halifax, as well as Michigan in the U.S. and Hertfordshire and London in the U.K.

SEARCH warrant was executed at his home in Ottawa’s Britannia Park neighbourhood and computers were seized.

Multiple aliases were used in the cyber attacks, that included fake social media ACCOUNTS and email addresses that defamed men, women and their family members, some of them minors.

Harassed for 12 years

One of his victims, Roland Stieda, told CBC NEWS during the sentencing hearing last month that he was harassed for 12 years, after working with Campbell for a few months in 2002.

Stieda said the campaign against him included false social media accounts filled with “hateful things” and false email accounts used to communicate with people in his professional and PERSONAL life.

Stieda said he was baffled at why he was targeted.

“To be honest, I barely remember the man,” Stieda said.

“That’s been one of the most difficult things in all of this is, is whenever something happens, the first thing people ask is, ‘What did you do?’ And I can’t think of any run-in I had with Mr. Campbell.”