$100,000 Cyberbully Prevention & Response Grant Announced

By Paul Langhorst      July 17, 2012

The CyberBully Hotline team is pleased to announce the kick-off of a $100,000 bully prevention and response grant program designed to help low-income, high-poverty schools implement the CyberBully Hotline to provide students with improved means to report bullying.

We have heard from many schools and districts that are interested in implementing the CyberBully Hotline program, while the program costs just pennies per student per year, with tight budgets and finances many are looking for help in funding the program.

The CyberBully Hotline Grant Program is just one option to help with bully prevention and response funding. We encourage interested schools and districts to review the program and submit an application if you meet the main criteria – which is a High (31%-50%) or Very High (50%+) Free & Reduced Lunch federal classification. The application is posted online and can be found at http://www.cyberbullyhotline.com/grant-application.html.

Here are some additional ideas for bully prevention and response funding:

  • Utilization of federal “safe schools” funding
  • Commercial sponsorship – CyberBully Hotline materials can be imprinted with the name or logo of a commercial sponsor. Most schools and districts have a relationship with local psychological agency to which they refer parents and students – ask them for a sponsorship.
  • Local law enforcement agencies – we have seen instances where the local police department may have funds earmarked for bully prevention and awareness – ask your local police chief to get involved.
  • PTA/PTO & Student Fundraiser:
    • Create a “Pennies for Prevention” campaign and ask students to bring in their lose change for a week or two and you will easily cover the cost of the CyberBully Hotline.
    • Do Something About It” wristband campaign.  As part of your kick-off campaign hold a “bullying awareness day.”  You can order “Do Something About It.” wrist bands from the CyberBully Hotline. Add a small mark-up to the cost of the wristband to cover the cost of the CyberBully Hotline. For information on ordering, contact AJ Morgan at amorgan@schoolreach.com.

Where there is a will there is way as the saying goes. The CyberBully Hotline team is ready to help your school or district find the funds to help implement our program.

 

 

Fun with Radio Disney and No More Bullying Project

By Paul Langhorst                 July 12, 2012

I just completed an interview at Radio Disney where Emily Zimmerman, Director of Marketing for St. Louis Mills Mall, and I discussed our joint participation in the No More Bullying event being held at the St. Louis Mills. What a blast!  Emily Brown, on air personality for Radio Disney – St. Louis was great.  In fact, we dubbed the event the “Emilie’s and Paul Show” because everyone in the studio was named Emily or Paul!

SchoolReach and our CyberBully Hotline program are co-sponsoring the No More Bullying event along with the Missouri Center for Education Safety, an organization with which SchoolReach has had a long standing relationship. I am very excited to be working with Paul Fennewald, Director of MO CES, on this project. He and Mo CES are committed to making Missouri schools a safer place for our students and its just great that they are involved.

This session marked the first time I met Emily Zimmerman face-to-face and had a chance to hear in her own words why she started the No More Bullying event.  It is clear that she is passionate about her company and its role in the St. Louis area. Here is what she had to say in her own words: .  “The St. Louis Mills is a destination for so many

No More Bully Interview by Paul Langhorst and Emily Zimmerman

Emily Zimmerman and Paul Langhorst following interview at Radio Disney Studios

parents and kids,” said Zimmerman.  It’s a heavy topic, but we are a part of this community and I felt that we had the perfect environment to hold an event to draw attention to the growing problem of bullying and cyberbullying and to provide information on ways parents and kids can make a difference.”

We had a blast doing the interview and it was amazing to watch Emily Brown work. She was so comfortable behind the mic and with just a few notes conducted a 30-minute interview that just flew by.  Disney is all about fun and family and it is so wonderful to see them involved in the No More Bullying event. I think it fits with their mission, and by bringing the Radio Disney Road Crew to the event, Disney will help more kids and parents get exposed to the important information and messages delivered by Tina Meier, of the Megan Meier Foundation, and the Alex Boyles of the Unwritten Letters Project.

We at SchoolReach and the CyberBully Hotline are very pleased to be involved in the No More Bullying event!

 

 

Average age by which first moblie phone received is 11.6 years old.

By Paul Langhorst                           July 10, 2012

Happy 11th birth day!  Here’s you new smartphone, now figure out how to use it properly with virtually no supervision or rules. Believe it or not, that is the “new normal” in parenting.

According to an article in OnlineMom.com referencing a study by Verizon and Parenting.com, the average age at which the first mobile phone is received is now 11.6 years old – and falling!  Shockingly, almost 1% of the kids surveyed received their first phone at less than 7 years of age! Almost 50% of the kids survey received their phone by age 12, which means there are kids far younger than 11 years-old being handed devices more powerful than the computers on the Space Shuttle and being expected to sort out how to use them in a complex social media driven world.

Consider these stats first phone stats:  (Age range when first phone received)

  • 6-7 years: .7%

    Mobile phone use by age study

    20% of kids survey received their mobile phone by age 10

  • 7-9 years:  9.9%
  • 10-12 years: 32%
  • 13-15 years: 39.7%
  • 16 + years: 10%

Not surprisingly the study also found that parents are not doing a very good job of communicating with their children on appropriate use of their new found technological wonder, concentrating mainly on when to use it and not on appropriate content and on internet safety precautions.

In an article I also posted today, titled Cyberbullying – Rampant on the Internet, I share that there are now 7.5 million users on Facebook under 13 years of age. As noted above, nearly 90% of kids who receive a mobile phone receive it by the age of 13-15, and a large percentage of those mobile devices are now web enabled.These two colliding statistics should be a huge cause for alarm in the education community as younger and younger children now have 24/7 access to social media and the internet with very little adult supervision. With immature brains, incapable of solid reasoning, logic or the ability often tell right from wrong and to see correct social meanings, kids are ill equipped to deal with this new reality – and its being gleefully allow by parents who increasing strive to provide their kids with the latest in mobile communications all under the banner of increasing their safety, when in fact eroding it.

 

 

 

CyberBully Hotline Speaks at CharacterPlus Confernce

By Paul Langhorst                      June 28, 2012

The CyberBully Holtine team of Vikki Burton and Paul Langhorst exhibited and presented at the annual CHARACTERplus® conference held at the St. Charles, MO Convention Center this past week.

CHARACTERplus is a LEA (local education authority) and is a project of the Cooperating School District of MO (CSD) and is a fabulous bully prevention resource, working to advance the cause of character education and sustain its impact on the lives of educators and students by:

  • designing, promoting and facilitating processes and best practices;
  • serving educators and enhancing their commitment to character education;
  • actively recruiting and developing community support; and
  • continually evaluating the impact of our programs and services.

Started in 1988 by a concerned group of educators, parents and business leaders who decided that something had to be done about the deterioration of basic values, CHARACTERplus now reaches more than 600 schools in over 100 districts, 25,000 teachers and more than 300,000 students throughout Missouri and Illinois.

CHARACTERplus helps schools build consensus about what values or character traits to teach and which programs to use. Using the CHARACTERplus Process, each school develops a character education curriculum and program that meets its community’s unique needs.

The CyberBully Hotline was pleased to take part in this event and enjoyed the opportunity to network with CHARACTERplus users and show attendees.

 

Anti-Bullying Law to be Passed by New York State

Following on the heels of Monroe County, NY passing a bill to make cyber bullying in the County a crime, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York’s legislative leaders pledge to approve a state-wide cyber bullying bill.

Read how with this new bill, New York state is showing national leadership and taking significant steps to combat cyber bullying.  The new law set forth in Monroe County, NY and the pending state-wide legislation make it clear that bullying and cyberbullying is a crime and not a rite of passage.

All but one state have laws against bullying, with the majority (42) also including specific language on electronic harassment, but only 14 states have included provisions specific to “cyber bullying.” New York is a key state to now include such language as so many other states look to New York for precedence and guidance when creating new laws.

 

Internet Safety Month – June 2012

By Paul Langhorst  June 6, 2012

D-Day Invastion Photo

Thank you to all those that have served and have given so much to our great Nation!

Today marks the 68th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944 when Allied troops landed at Normandy to start the European ground war in WWII.  Thank you to all those who gave their lives and have served in the armed forces that day, and since, to protect the US and democracy.

We are engaged in another war, a war that also must be won, which is the war against online harassment, crimes, cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, and other malicious acts against others by those who use the Internet to project harm, terror, pain and suffering in their victims.

June has been designated as Internet Safety Month by an Act of Congress. Unfortunately the Act is mere words on paper with no funding or other programs being generated as a result. However, such proclamations do have an affect, and over time can build into significant awareness efforts. This is just the second year that June has been designated Internet Safety Month so it is too early to tell. However, a quick search under the term “Internet Safety Month” will lead you to several companies and organizations that are building upon the proclamation.

The CyberBully Hotline is one such organization that is using Internet Safety Month to help draw attention to online safety issues and to provide parents and educators with simple tips and ideas on how to increase online safety.

Please check out our Internet Safety Month Tips here.

And, as announced yesterday, our own subject matter expert, Janet M. Irvine had a great article published on Tech & Learning Journal sharing 6-Steps to Prevent Cyberbullying.

Please check out these resources and feel free to suggest ideas for new areas of discussion!

 

 

 

Anonymous School Tip Lines – Fighting Fire with Fire

By: Paul Langhorst        March 26, 2012

The phenomenon of cyber bulling, or bullying through technology, has a new enemy – anonymous school tip lines, such as the SchoolReach CyberBully Hotline.

Bullying aided through the use of technology, such as harassing texts and hurtful social media postings, is one of the most rapidly growing forms of bullying and the least reported by students. The anonymity and distance created by the technology increases the ease with which students will verbally, emotionally and visually harass others. What one would never say face to face, is now all but common place on line.

Compounding the issue, victims of cyber bullying may be less likely to report such incidents. A main fear of victims is reverse punitive damage, where a victim may fear reporting that they are being cyber bullied because their parents may try to resolve the problem by shutting down the victim’s Facebook page or by restricting Internet use (Safe Schools Advocacy Council – Bully Prevention Conference 2012).

Now, students who are victims and bystanders to such cyber bullying activities now have a new way to seek help. Anonymous school tip lines are now becoming readily available and quite popular.  There are currently at least eight school tip line programs on the market and they can look very similar from the outset. However, there are many differences.  An anonymous school tip line should include the following key attributes:

  • Offer text and voice reporting of incidents
  • Deliver information directly to school officials, with notification completed via mobile and email delivery, as well as offer a central on line repository for managing and responding to student reports.
  • Provide complete anonymity of the reporting student
  • Provide for two-way text communication between reporter and school official
  • Offer 24 x 7 x 365 access to students
  • Offer access complete security and be FERPA compliant
  • Provide resource materials and other information to help make the launch and ongoing use of the program a success

If your school or district is looking to create a school climate in which bullying, harassment and intimidation are not supported, the inclusion of an anonymous tip line is now a must-have. The CyberBully Hotline from SchoolReach, scores and A+ on all the above features and functions.

To request a demo of they CyberBully Hotline, click here.

The Bully Project – A New Bullying Resource

By: Paul Langhorst

The soon-to-be released movie, ‘The Bully Project’ directed by Lee Hirsch, and released by The Weinstein Company (of Academy Award winning ‘The Artist’ fame), is stirring national interest and debate. Students across the country are petitioning to have the R-rating changed to PG-13 so that they can see it as part of class discussions.

The movie follows the lives of several students who are bullied and tormented and focuses on the family of Tyler Long, a 17-year-old boy who hanged himself due to bullying and harassment. After only having having seen the The Bully Project trailers at this point, it is clear that this is a powerful movie. It should be seen by those impacted the most – the bullies, their victims and the bystanders.

Regardless of whether the rating is changed (which I think it should), the “silver lining” here is that any light that can be shed on the problem of bullying by raising awareness of the seriousness of the matter, whether caused by the movie itself or the fight over the rating, will be positive in the end.

Steps Schools Can Take in Response to Cyberbullying

By: Paul Langhorst

School response to cyberbullying is impacted by student’s First-Amendment right and the fact that much of cyberbullying occurs not at school or during school hours, but after school and off campus. However, a recent article on BusinessRisk.com suggest some simple steps that school administration can take to respond appropriately to cyberbullying. The steps are:

  • Develop clear rules and policies to prohibit the use of school technologies to bully others.
  • Educate students and staff members about what types of behavior constitute cyber bullying and how the school district’s policies apply to them.
  • Provide adequate supervision and monitoring of student use of technology.
  • Establish systems for reporting cyber bullying or misuse of technology.
  • Establish effective responses to reports of cyber bullying.

In addition we recommend that you speak with your district or school attorney, and your state attorney general to get a clear understanding of where your authority starts and stops over the matter of cyberbullying.

What steps is your school or district taking to respond to cyberbullying?