Textual Harassment and Digital Abuse: Cell Phones, Facebook, and Twitter. Oh My!!

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Normal Textual Harassment and Digital Abuse: Cell Phones, Facebook, and Twitter. Oh My!!

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:37 am

posted by: Ximena Ramirez 11 hours ago

I’ve had the new iphone for about 24 hours now and it’s incredible (and exhausting) how connected you are to everyone and everything from such a tiny device. This realization took on a whole new meaning when I remembered an article I read last week in the Washington Post about a new trend in dating violence that would be impossible without my savvy little phone – "textual harassment."

In abusive relationships texting is a new way abusers choose to threaten, stalk, and harass their partners. With various unlimited phone plans this type of abuse can be relentless - sometimes 100 or more texts a day for some according to the Post. Coupled with phone calls, emails, Facebook messages, tweets, etc. dating violence has taken on a whole new dimension in the digital age.

Despite new digital harassing avenues, physical abuse in relationships remains. In fact, a federal survey last month revealed that one of 10 high school students nationally reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend during the previous year. Imagine how great that number would be if you were to factor in "textual harassment" and other forms of online abuse.

Another survey by the Associated Press and MTV revealed some other disturbing trends in what they coin "digital abuse:"
Almost a quarter of young people currently in some sort of romantic relationship report that their boyfriend or girlfriend checks up with them multiple times per day, either online or on a cell phone, to see where they are, who they’re with or what they’re doing.
More than 1 in 4 say their boyfriend or girlfriend has checked the text messages on their phone without permission.
More than 1 in 10 have had a boyfriend or girlfriend demand passwords.
Roughly 1 in 10 have also had a significant other demand that they "unfriend" former boyfriends/girlfriends on social networks.
With so many choices – text, call, slap, punch, facebook, tweet – dating violence has transformed greatly especially when I think about what students experienced when I was in high school.

There was a time not so long ago when teenagers didn’t have cell phones (it’s more difficult to harass someone via beeper, remember those?) and had to call their boyfriend or girlfriend’s homes to speak to them. That often meant speaking to their parents first which meant the parents could monitor phone calls.

There was also a time not too long ago when Facebook, twitter, and other social networks didn’t exist at all (imagine that). These new social networks now provide yet another platform for harassment, bullying, and abuse.

MTV has created a new campaign – A Thin Line – to raise awareness of "digital abuse" like forced sexting, textual harassment, and cyber-bullying. The campaign was developed to educate students to identify, respond to, and stop the spread of digital abuse. In an age of ever expanding technology and increasing social networks we will need more programs likes this to educate youth. Who knows what other social networks – and accompanying abuse – we’ll have next year or even next month.

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Normal Online Bullies Change Perception of Who's Most Depressed

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:35 am

LiveScience.com
Amanda Chan, MyHealthNewsDaily Staff Writer

1 hr 10 mins ago

When Kirsti Rodrigues logged onto her MySpace account one day in 2008, she was mortified by what she found: a blog entry titled "Fakes and Flakes" that a friend had written about her after a fight and had posted for the world to see.

That was the first time Rodrigues, then 18, thought she experienced a panic attack.

"It affected me badly," the Kailua, Hawaii, resident said. "This past summer was bad because I was depressed thinking about it."

Youths who are the victims of cyber-bullying are more likely to be depressed than the bullies themselves, a new study by the National Institutes of Health suggests. The findings differ from studies of traditional in-person bullying, which have found that kids who both bully and are bullied are likely to be depressed, according to the researchers.

Cyber-bullies spread hostility and scorn using cell phones or computers, whereas in-person, traditional bullies use verbal taunts, physical violence and social exclusion, the study noted.

"Before, people would only have to deal with bullying at school," Rodrigues said. "Now that the Internet has made its way into people's lives, it makes it easier and more available to cyber-bully 24/7."

In the study, researchers asked 7,500 students from 43 countries, all of whom were in sixth through 10th grade, whether they'd been bullied, whether they had bullied someone, and whether they felt sad or had symptoms of depression in the last 30 days.

Frequent victims of cyber-bullying reported much higher levels of depression than the admitted bullies did, and slightly higher levels of depression than the students who said they'd been both a bully and a victim, according to the study.

A big reason for the depression could be that word spreads faster and more easily online: Blog posts, comments and e-mails can be written anonymously and readily copied and pasted, said researcher Ronald Iannotti, a staff scientist at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Once made, such posts may survive indefinitely.

"Cyber-bullying goes on, it persists," Iannotti told MyHealthNewsDaily. "So not only does it happen the first time you've seen it, but you know it's still out there circulating."

Unlike traditional face-to-face bullying, where there is a limited number of witnesses, cyber-bullying can have an audience of hundreds or thousands of online bystanders. The anonymity of the poster can add to the victim's stress because there's no easy way to get the person to stop, Iannotti said.

"You don't know who the audience is, and you don't know who the bully is," he said.

That's what happened to a high school junior in Gilbert, Ariz., last spring Jazmine said she signed up for a website (formspring.me) that allows people to ask questions publicly and anonymously to get to know friends better. But instead of asking innocuous questions, her peers used the anonymity of the site to spread false, hurtful rumors, she said.

"There was a rumor spread about me saying that I did things with this one kid," said Jazmine, who asked that her last name not be used. "As soon as it happened, I was bombarded with comments like 'Oh, the whole school hates you,' and 'Everyone knows what you did.'"

Jazmine deleted her account immediately, but many students at her school had already seen the posts.

"It got bigger and it took a few months to... blow over," she said. But the incident still follows her: Just a few days ago, more than a year after the first posts, other students approached her to ask if what they heard about her was true.

The effects of cyber-bullying make it important for parents to stay involved in their teens' lives. Parental involvement is the single factor that seems to protect an adolescent from becoming a bully or the victim of a bully, said study researcher Jing Wang, a research fellow at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The study, which appears today (Sept. 21) in the Journal of Adolescent Health, follows some cyber-bullying incidents that ended in tragedy and drew nationwide attention, including the suicide of a 15-year-old girl in Massachusetts in January after she was taunted both in school and online. In 2006, a Missouri teenager killed herself after being bullied on MySpace by her former friend's mother.

The researchers said they will next try to determine if teens who are depressed are more likely to be cyber-bullied, or if being cyber-bullied is the cause for depression.

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Prayers for our little HaLeigh Cummings, wherever she may be!!

Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation. Go find somebody’s hand and squeeze it, while there’s time.
-- Dale Dauten--

Thank you RAINE for all you ARE!! I will ALWAYS hold you in my Heart!!
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