Blog and Articles.

Flash Mobs and Lip-Dubs to Combat Bullying

I was talking with an educator last week about enlisting students to help create a healthy, thriving, and fun school climate, and specifically brought up the idea of flash mobs and lip-dubs. Many of our students have talents and abilities which we should really tap in order to help us promote positive attitudes and behaviors across our campus. Unfortunately, we don’t do this often enough, even though student voice is such a powerful thing and can make way more of an impact than the efforts of well-meaning adults. A flash mob is a large group of people who suddenly break into synchronized song or choreographed dance — sometimes both – in a public place for the purposes of entertainment, artistic expression, or to bring attention to a cause. A lip-dub is a music video where a group of individuals are recorded lip-syncing a song, after which the original audio of the song is dubbed over the video in post-editing. Many students (including myself!) have grown up in dance – whether it’s...

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Bullying, Cyberbullying, and LGBTQ Students

Bullying that specifically targets youth and young adults based on their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression has been a problem for decades. The increased utilization of technology among youth (and, well, just about everyone) has resulted in bullying behaviors moving online. As a result, cyberbullying perpetrated against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth has emerged. It is clear that more can be done to prevent these incidents of hate perpetrated online. This summary explores what the research says about the connection between bullying/cyberbullying and sexual orientation/identity, and discusses relevant strategies that youth-serving adults can implement. Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2020). Bullying, Cyberbullying, and LGBTQ Students. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved [insert date], from https://cyberbullying.org/bullying-cyberbullying-sexual-orientation-lgbtq.pdf Download the Guide The post Bullying, Cyberbullying, and LGBTQ...

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Cyberbullying Fact Sheet: Taking Screenshots and Screen Recordings to Preserve Evidence

This Fact Sheet provides you with the instructions on how to create an image or video of what you see on any screen (on any device – your laptop, tablet, gaming console, Kindle, phone, iWatch, etc.) so that evidence of cyberbullying (or any other problematic behavior) can be saved and used for an investigation at school, or to send to a social media or gaming company to get an account taken down, or to give to the police. Securing digital evidence is so critical! Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. (2021). Cyberbullying fact sheet: Taking screenshots and screen recordings to preserve evidence. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved [insert date], from https://cyberbullying.org/making-cyberbullying-screenshots.pdf Download PDF The post Cyberbullying Fact Sheet: Taking Screenshots and Screen Recordings to Preserve Evidence appeared first on Cyberbullying Research Center.

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Bullying During the COVID-19 Pandemic

One of the questions we have been asked most often over the last 18 months is whether bullying has gotten better or worse since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Early on, there was a concern that cyberbullying incidents in particular would increase as youth were spending more time online. Additionally, many young children were perhaps given premature access to technology with inadequate support or supervision as schools hurriedly moved to virtual educational activities and parents simply needed to survive the extended time children had at home. On the other hand, we have long known that bullying online is often connected to bullying at school and therefore fewer students at schools might translate to fewer problems online. Despite these speculations, however, I’ve mostly had to respond to the question about bullying during the pandemic by saying that we simply don’t know. Recently, though, initial research has emerged to provide some insight about the nature and extent of bullying...

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My Son’s First Phone

I was sitting in the bleachers of my son’s recent hockey practice when another parent came up to me and sheepishly asked: “Does your son have a phone?” “Funny you should ask,” I replied. Coincidentally enough, we gave our son his first full-functioning phone that very day. I don’t think this particular parent knows what I do for a living, so he wasn’t asking “the expert,” he was simply asking another parent. This led to a nice conversation about what I have learned about kids and devices in my research over the years.   As I’ve traveled the world the last two decades speaking with parents about family technology issues, it is without a doubt the most frequently asked question I get: When should I give my child a phone? There is, of course, no easy answer to this question. It depends on a lot of factors, including the child, the parent(s), and the circumstances. Is the child mature enough to handle the responsibility? Are the parents prepared to provide guidance and instruction? Is...

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Clubhouse faces steep challenges in spite of new features and expanded access

Clubhouse, the former invitation-only social media darling that captured the attention of investors, social media early adopters, and competitors since its introduction in April 2020, now faces significant challenges as it strives to remain relevant and attract new and engaged users. Since our previous report on Clubhouse in March 2021, the social media app has…

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Will New Censorship Bills Increase Cyberbullying on Social Media?

Over the last few months, politicians in many states across America* have introduced and/or passed bills that allow individuals to file civil lawsuits against social media platforms that remove or restrict their online posts. In my home state of Florida, our governor recently signed such a bill into law (SB7072) to protect against “Silicon Valley elites,” “censorship,” and “other tyrannical behavior.” This is a big deal. We can all agree that we do not want our First Amendment rights to free expression to be limited unfairly when it comes to what we want to post and share on the Internet. We can all also agree that we do not want to be subjected to online hate, abuse, or other forms of harm because users of a platform are given no parameters or rules about appropriate social behavior, nor face any consequences for transgressions. But is there a happy medium to be found? Is the status quo good enough? Before I answer that, let us back up and contextualize the current controversy by...

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Can Schools Discipline for Off-Campus Speech? The U.S. Supreme Court Weighs In

The U.S. Supreme Court has just released a highly anticipated opinion in the case of a Pennsylvania high school cheerleader who was suspended from the team for profanity about the team that was posted to Snapchat on the weekend. (If you are new to Mahanoy v. B.L., see my previous posts here and here.) We were primarily interested in this case because of the potential implications of the sweeping and unique opinion offered by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which intimated that schools have no authority whatsoever when it comes to disciplining student behavior or speech that occurs off-campus. The Supreme Court rightfully rejected this stance: “Unlike the Third Circuit, we do not believe the special characteristics that give schools additional license to regu­late student speech always disappear when a school regu­lates speech that takes place off campus.” The Court ultimately did side with the student, but stopped short of providing a playbook for when schools can (or must)...

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Some Things Never Change… Including, Apparently, T&Cs in Germany

With a judgment dated April 27 and published on June 4, 2021, the German Federal Court (Bundesgerichtshof – the “Court”) declared unfair and therefore illegal and unenforceable a common way to make changes to terms and conditions (“T&Cs”) used vis-à-vis consumers in Germany. For more information, read the full client alert.

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Northern District of California Holds that Section 230 Applies to App Store

While Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act continues to face significant calls for reform or even elimination, the recent Coffee v. Google case illustrates that Section 230 continues to provide broad protection to online service providers. In Coffee, the Northern District of California invoked Section 230 to dismiss a putative class action against Google alleging various claims premised on the…

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Click Yes to Accept: Fairness and Transparency in Consumer Contracts in Europe

Companies contracting with consumers have to take care to ensure their agreement terms are enforceable. In one of the first post-Brexit decisions on issues in an online consumer contract, a UK court recently showed that principles of fairness and transparency remain vital in the terms and conditions of consumer digital contracts. In Europe, drafting digital…

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Mitigating User Content Risk After EU Copyright Directive

Partner Christiane Stuetzle, senior associate Patricia Ernst, and research assistant Susan Bischoff authored an article for Law360 covering how online content service providers must act to mitigate risks and avoid liability under the European Union’s Copyright Directive, created in an effort to strengthen the rights of copyright holders by making certain platforms that host user-uploaded content (UUC) liable for…

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