The battle against Cyberbullying takes a step forward

Jul 13, 2011

Tags: , ;

Great news was announced today for California residents and Facebook users concerned about cyberbullying. California passed Assembly Bill 746 (http://bit.ly/pY0oCi) which makes cyberbullying a offense worthy of school suspension.

Facebook and Time Warner have also announced they will prevent bullying with a joint initiative called Stop Bullying: Speak up.

ContentWatch understands the dangers of cyberbullying, which is why we have made an effort to help families have a safe and enjoyable online experience. Net Nanny's conversation monitoring feature helps parents protect their children from bullies and helps to ensure that kids are not bullying others.

In addition to the bill and other initiatives there are many simple ways parents can contribute to the Internet safety of their children. A list of precautions, including good practice suggestions and electronic aids is available for parents at http://bit.ly/m3CX1x.

It is also good for parents and school officials to know how kids can get around online precautions put in place for their safety. Have you seen your kids use any of the following work-arounds? Share with us your own story related to cyberbullying.

  1. Proxy Websites- Many teens use a proxy website, which is essentially a web page within a web page, to circumvent web filters and to surf the web anonymously.
  2. Peer-to-Peer- Kids use peer-to-peer file sharing to distribute music, photos, and movies to each other. It is possible a child thinks she is downloading an innocent movie that ends up being pornography or hackers can steal personal information when a computer is open to file sharing.
  3. User-generated Content- Blogs and wikis are user-generated web pages. Most web filters allow these sites, which can contain objectionable material, because they do not have the ability to search content on web pages in real-time.
  4. Facebook Alias- Kids may create bogus Facebook accounts for their parents to monitor and access while using a different Facebook account with friends. Additionally, a majority of households don't use the privacy controls available on Facebook, potentially exposing a child to predators when kids or parents post names and photos.
  5. Administration Rights on the Computer- If parents allow kids to access computers with open administration ("admin") rights, they can get around or uninstall any security software, including web filters.
  6. Using a Website IP Address to Bypass a Web Filter- Each web page has a specific IP address associated with it. Many web filters prevent access based on a website name, but do not block access to an IP address. Kids can easily obtain a web page IP address and then use it to gain access to a website.
  7. A short video of these six loopholes is available at: http://bit.ly/kEaPrw.