You are here

Data Breaches Lead to Scam Phone Calls

Have you been getting a lot of spam calls on your mobile phone recently? One study shows that nearly half of all calls to mobile phones are fraudulent, and scams are getting more sophisticated. Call-protection company First Orion says that hacker breaches of major consumer-oriented businesses, such as retailers, give scammers data such as names, phone numbers and more that they can use to impersonate brands or charities in phone calls or emails to consumers.

Not Sure If Your Caption Might Be Considered Bullying? AI to Let You Know

In an effort to make the platform a more positive place, Instagram has rolled out a new feature that prompts users when something they are about to post might be offensive. Users can ignore the prompts and proceed to post the content, but Instagram is hoping the alerts might make people think twice before posting something they might regret.

Whether or not this proves effective is still up in the air. Instagram said that its efforts to reduce bullying in comments have been "promising," but that doesn't guarantee similar performance for the posts themselves. Someone caught up in the heat of the moment might hit "share anyway," and not worry about the consequences. And there will be moments where a vicious tone may not represent bullying at all -- calling the policy of a politician or public figure stupid may not be constructive, but it's not bullying. Still, this could be helpful if it leads even a handful of people to mend their ways.

YouTube Steps Up Harassment Policy

YouTube has promised to ramp up its fight against hate and harassment. The video service recently announced changes to its harassment policy,  which include a ban on implicit threats of violence and insults that target someone for their race, gender expression or sexual orientation. Under its new harassment policy, the service aims to also take down videos that simulate violence against an individual, or that suggest that violence may happen. The post specifically added the policy will also be applied to videos posted by public officials – a distinction that could set YouTube apart from its competitors. Twitter, for instance, has long exempted public figures from its hate speech policies, to the dismay of critics who have argued that President Trump repeatedly violates those policies. Instead, Twitter said in June that it would flag tweets from public figures that were violating its policies labeling the violation as such.

Tik Tok Once Suppressed Videos It Deemed “Susceptible” to Cyberbullying

TikTok officials confirmed that, at one point, platform moderators were instructed to suppress videos it says were "susceptible to bullying or harassment," including those featuring people with body weight “issues,” facial disfigurement, autism, or Down syndrome, according to a report appeared in German magazine Netzpolitik. “While the intention was good, the approach was wrong and we have long since changed the earlier policy in favor of more nuanced anti-bullying policies and in-app protections," a TikTok spokesperson told Netzpolitik.

Online Tools Used To Counter White Nationalism in Schools

Oregon high-school social studies teacher Patrick Griffin uses Western States Center's ‘Confronting White Nationalism in Schools’, an online tool kit to help counter white nationalism, offensive stereotypes and racist messages from hate groups. In an interview transcript from NPR, Lindsay Schubiner, one of the kit's co-authors, says the need for this type of material is growing, as neo-Nazi websites are targeting children as young as 11. The toolkit helps teachers discuss different scenarios and provide greater context, while helping students feel safe to engage in these conversations.

Schools Join Into The TikTok Craze with Clubs

TikTok, a social media app where users post short funny videos, is enjoying a surge in popularity among teenagers around the world and has been downloaded 1.4 billion times, according to SensorTower. Now high schools are joining the TikTok trend with clubs to dance, sing and perform skits for the app — essentially drama clubs for the digital age, but with the potential to reach huge audiences. And unlike other social media networks, TikTok is winning over some educators, like Michael Callahan, a teacher and drama club advisor at West Orange High School in New Jersey, who had never heard of TikTok before his students told him about it. He loves how the app brings students from different friend groups together. “You see a lot more teamwork and camaraderie,” he said, “and less — I don’t want to say bullying — but focus on individuals.”

Can Social And Emotional Learning Help Curb Cyberbullying?

Integrating a social-emotional learning in school curricula could help to encourage digital civility and curb cyberbullying, according to Mandy Manning, who was National Teacher of the Year in 2018. Now back in the classroom, Manning says she is focused in part on helping students make human connections and learn to have positive, healthy relationships -- online and in real life.

Quick List of Digital Resources for Bullying Prevention and Cybersecurity

Looking for parent, teacher or school resources on bullying prevention and cybersecurity? Take a look at this list from Tech & Learning online. The resources includes links on how to obtain posters, tip sheets and brochures about bullying for your school, information on Cyber Security Careers, and even a short guide to cryptology that helps students understand the importance of a strong password.

What Does It Mean To Be a Digital Citizen?

What does it mean to be a good online citizen? Marialice Curran, founder of the Digital Citizenship Institute, proposes that it is less about a list of do’s and don’ts, and more about treating one another with humanity, compassion and respect. She believes the term “digital citizenship” is not the best way to get people’s attention. For her, digital citizenship is human connections. It is bringing back the humanity into interactions online and not using the online world to harass, bully and intimidate others.


Hat Not Hate

If you’ve got a crafty side and want to speak out against bullying, there is a way to contribute to the cause and show your “anti-cyberbullying” outlook. Lion Brand Yarns has partnered with BeStrong, a global antibullying organization, to rally consumers to knit or crochet blue hats and share them on social media with #HatNotHate to build awareness and support the efforts to stop bullying. Why blue hats? Blue represents awareness and solidarity, and is the color to wear in support of bullying prevention.