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Sexting and the Law

Oct 31 2017in Uncategorized admin Comments Off on Sexting and the Law

From Sexting to Prison

In Today’s society cell phones play a major part in everyday life. Cell phones create an efficient world for all of us, but it can also create another world for criminality. This criminality can be in the form of texting while using sexual images or videos known as “sexting”. Sexting can have major ramifications for teenagers. Sending nude photos or even semi nude photos of minors constitutes as child pornography and teens do not realize posting illicit pictures on social networking sites such as Facebook or Myspace, and showing it to friends, or simply sending it or storing it electronically can bring forth a felony charge. The Federal Government is very stern on what the definition of child pornography is. Basically any drawing, picture, image or video depicting a minor in a sexually explicit manner is child pornography. This means that if an individual is caught “sexting” a picture of a minor, they can be put in prison and be labeled as a sex offender for life.

It is important to understand that the federal government can charge an individual with child pornography and states can have separate laws to charge an Individual sexting. There are currently new legislatures introduced in twenty-one different states. These states are reviewing current laws and punishments and possibly revise laws already in place towards electronic pornography. Nine states have already enacted legislation towards sexting, most states tend to follow suit shortly after. These states are as follows:

H.B. 127
Status: 6/23/2011, Signed by Governor, but sexting provisions were amended out of enacted version.
Relates to the crimes of stalking, online enticement of a minor, unlawful exploitation of a minor, endangering the welfare of a child, sending an explicit image of a minor, harassment, distribution of indecent material to minors, and misconduct involving confidential information.


H.B. 75
Status: 6/21/11, Signed by Governor. Chapter 2011-180.
Provides that minor commits offense of sexting if he or she knowingly uses computer or other device to transmit or distribute photograph or video of himself or herself which depicts nudity and is harmful to minors, or knowingly possesses such photograph or video that was transmitted or distributed to minor from another minor; provides that transmission or distribution of multiple photographs or videos is single offense if such photographs and videos were transmitted or distributed in same 24-hour period; provides that possession of multiple photographs or videos that were transmitted or distributed by minor is single offense if such photographs and videos were transmitted or distributed by minor in same 24-hour period; provides that act does not prohibit prosecution of minor for conduct relating to material that includes depiction of sexual conduct or sexual excitement or for stalking.

Relates to child pornography and sexting.

S. B. 277
Status: 6/3/11, Signed by Governor, Chapter 245
Revises provisions governing certain acts by juveniles relating to the possession, transmission and distribution of certain sexual images.

H.B. 1372
Status: 3/21/2011, Signed by Governor. Chapter 99.
Relates to the creation, possession, or dissemination of sexually expressive images.

H.B. 5094
Status: 7/12/2011. Signed by Governor, Public Law 2011-270.
Prohibits the use of a computer or other telecommunication device to transmit an indecent visual depiction of himself or herself to another person, which is commonly known as sexting, by minors; provides that any violation of this act is deemed to be a status offense and shall be referred to the family court. This act would take effect upon passage.

S.B. 733
Status: 7/12/2011. Signed by Governor, Public Law 2011-295.
Would create various criminal offenses relating to Internet activity. This act would take effect upon passage.

S.B. 179
Defines and prohibits the offenses of juvenile sexting and aggravated juvenile sexting and provides for certain sanctions and remedies.

S.B. 407
Status: 6/17/11, Signed by Governor
Relates to the creation of the offense of electronic transmission of certain visual material depicting a minor and to certain educational programs concerning the prevention and awareness of that offense.

Bill No. 41-31 (COR)
Status: March 8, 2011, Signed by Governor
Relates to bullying, cyberbullying and sexting.

*State Legislature information was retrieved from www.ncsl.org and should not be mistaken as legal advice*

By Alan J. Stevenson, Veteran, Criminal Justice/Information Security and Assurance Student

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Presentación Para Los Padres Del New Heights Charter School in South Los Angeles

Mar 5 2017in Uncategorized, Whats New admin Comments Off on Presentación Para Los Padres Del New Heights Charter School in South Los Angeles

¿Cuántos de ustedes tienen un niño o niños que le han dicho que han sido intimidados?

Presentado Por

Melissa Sherman

Directora Ejecutiva

(424) 253-6702

Presentación Para Los Padres Del New Heights Charter School (click)

Beyond Bullies (BB), es una organización clasificada 501 (c) (3)sin fines de lucro y dedicada a objetivos como la intimidación y para empoderar a los jóvenes, padres y personas que trabajan con ellos mediante la creación de programas educativos y de prevención.

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SnapChat-New Platform for Bullies

Mar 5 2017in Uncategorized, Whats New adminTags:
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SnapChat is an extremely popular photo-messaging application (“app”), which allows users to send photos or videos and deletes them after 1 to 10 seconds. The idea, deleoped by Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy, was to take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of people. Once the Snaps are sent, they are presumably gone forever, and the sender nor the recipient has to worry about them afterwards. However, like everything else on the World Wide Web, users can skate around this feature-this time by taking screen-shots. SnapChat has recently admitted that the photos take several hours to be deleted from the servers.

Additionally, some hacks use the phone’s screenshot capabilities. Once a picture is sent to a contact, then that person can keep a screenshot of the image before it self-destructs. Then the contact has full control of the picture and can send it to anyone.  The person who sent it will have no idea that the picture still exists.  Recently, hackers have recently targeted SnapChat and it vulnerabilities. In one case, details of over a four million users were leaked to prove that it was possible to hack. In another, photos of smoothies were shared to all SnapChat followers without the user getting to know about it.


Some youth use SnapChat for sexting and sending suggestive or nude pictures to their peers. However, such images of children are illegal and minors can be charged distribution and possession of child pornography.


Like all the other murky corners of the Internet, SnapChat is also used for cypberbullying. A photo can be sent and after a few seconds, all evidence of the action is lost. Unfortunately, most victims forget to take screen-shots in the heat of the moment and this is another point that reduces the risk of being caught. Embarrassing photos, or photos comparing the victim to a derogatory item are the most common methods. For example, a photo of a classmate alongside a picture of a horse with large teeth could be sent to all the people in the school and my trigger more intense bullying toward the student. Moreover, threatening photos like those posing with weapons, can also be sent by bullies and succeed in silencing the victim.

What can parents do?

Children need to know early on that this is a problem, and that they will have to face consequences at some point. In fact, research shows that sexting has become a big problem among teens. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project as many as fifteen percent of teens between the ages of twelve and seventeen say that they have received a “sext” from someone they know. Meanwhile, 4 percent of those teens indicate that they also have participated in sexting by sending nude or nearly nude images of themselves to someone else via text message. Another study found that twenty-eight percent of fourteen to nineteen-year-olds said they had sent a nude picture of themselves through text or e-mail.

The need for educating children is dire. Be sure that kids know that once something is sent or posted, they have no control over where it goes or what happens to it, This is the internet, and so everything leaves a digital footprint and there is nothing as’ disappearing content.’

For more information about how to protect yourself or someone you know click http://beyondbullies.org/safety-zone/social-media/.


Written by Ravneet Sandhu

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Warning Signs of Bullying: An Interview with Internationally Recognized Bullying Expert Michal Kolář

Jul 13 2016in Uncategorized, Whats New admin Comments Off on Warning Signs of Bullying: An Interview with Internationally Recognized Bullying Expert Michal Kolář

Dr. Michal Kolář is a psychotherapist who has been treating bullying for more than 30 years. He has created a special theory and methodology for the diagnosis and treatment of bullying at schools. He also works with the International and European Observatories on School Violence.
In my interview with Michal Kolář, he talked to me about the difficulty parents have when their children suffer from bullying. In his book, A New Way to Treat Bullying, Michal writes about the signals parents can look for if their child is a target of bullying. Michal says bullying signs can be difficult to detect and parents who notice that something is wrong with their child often find that it is very frustrating to get help from teachers and administrators.

Michal explains that when a parent tries to talk to teachers or administrators, they are quick to point fingers and tell them that their child provoked the situation or in some instances started it. It is common for a parent to hear there was not enough evidence, their child yelled or pushed the bully and no witnesses. Additionally, often times, when the target and the bully are both suspended and then come back to school, there are no consequences in place to protect the target from the bully or their friends.
If school polices are in place but do not provide teachers with specific consequences for bullying behavior, children are in jeopardy of being harmed. Many children, whether they have a good relationship with their parents or not have a difficult time admitting that other kids are mean to them or carrying out a campaign to ruin their reputations. A target of bullying often believes that somehow they caused the bullying or in some way deserved it. Michal says, “Admitting to an adult that other kids laugh, push or make fun of you can be a very shameful experience.” Making matters worse is a home environment where siblings or parents put down or ignore the child’s feelings, increasing their insecurities and low self-esteem.

Weekly, there are stories about parents who are shocked and saddened to learn that their child was a target of bullying. Their cries for help do not have to go unseen or undone by parents. In fact, “Individual signals do not necessarily denote bullying“, he explains. He places much more significance on the context of the situation, the repetition and frequency of symptoms. His work was written up for the Ministry of Education. (Guideline Minister of Education, Youth and Sports to prevent and address bullying among school pupils and school facilities)

Signs and Signals of Bullying
• The child does not have friends over or seems to have no friends.
• The child is subdued, sad and depressed.
• S/he suffers from poor sleep, sleep disorders and nightmares.
• They have a lack of interest in participating in sports, family dinners or events.
• Before going to school or after school, complains about headaches, stomach aches, etc.
• Many children visit a doctor or say they are sick before school to avoid bullies.
• Children may go to school or from school using detours.
• Students may come home with torn clothes, damaged or missing backpack & school aids.
• Make different excuses for losing lunch money and require more money.
• Children may be hungry after school even when snacks and lunch were provided at school. (Bully may have stolen lunch money.)
• Child cannot satisfactorily explain his injuries: a black eye, scrapes, bruises,
slight concussions, a broken or pulled bone, burns, etc.
• Sudden drop in grades and no interest in studying
• Threatens suicide or attempts it

”There are some children that do try to talk to their parents about their difficulties at school,” Kolář says. “In the beginning stages of bullying, there are cases when the child finds the strength and courage to talk to their parents. It is very important that when a child opens up about a humiliating experience that a parent should listen, show emotional support and take everything they say seriously. Unfortunately, many parents are act surprised when they first learn about the bullying. They often react inappropriately. The only right attitude is to stand firm in love for the child.”

Written by, Melissa Sherman, Executive Director, Beyond Bullies www.beyondbullies.org

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The Power of the Cell Phone: Fox News’ Analyst Robin Sax Weighs in on Recording Bullying

Feb 2 2015in Uncategorized, Whats New admin Comments Off on The Power of the Cell Phone: Fox News’ Analyst Robin Sax Weighs in on Recording Bullying


Recording Bullying Can Shape the Future of Bullying 

Using Technology to Help Rather than Hinder Students


While schools all over are doing their best at enforcing the “no electronic devices” policy that has been around for some time now, it’s impossible to avoid the fact that almost all teenagers now carry cellphones to school. Texting, web surfing, and the endless games that are now available on a regular phone have turned them into a common distraction. Teachers and administrators frown upon them for that very reason. Among all the distractors though, the cell phone can be of extreme help to document an act of bullying.

Most cell phones now come with some sort of recording application, be it a video recorder, a camera, or a voice recorder. Many targets of bullying have lost trust in teachers and administrators who claim there is not enough evidence to expel or punish bullies or cyber bullies.  Recording the incident or taking a photo of a comment online can prove it exists, which will be harder for adults to deny. 

Taking out a cell phone and secretly recording a picture of someone being bullied or cyber bullied is a very simple way of having direct proof without having to personally speak to an administrator about what is going on.

Breaking the no cell phone rule is something some students are hesitant of doing though, and it is because of this that bullies are getting away with what they do best. According to several high school administrators, (school name is being withheld for privacy), in worst-case scenarios, the infraction of cell phone use would be overlooked if it were being used to protect another from bullying. When it comes down to it, an afternoon in detention beats being bullied for years, so it shouldn’t even be question in mind whether or not to document proof of bullying.

Robin Sax, a victim advocate, Fox 11 News’ Analyst, and former prosecutor for the state of California, says simply obtaining proof of bullying on a cell phone is only half  the process.  Sax shares her thoughts below in the Q&A.

Q&A with Robin Sax

Q: Do you think young people should be able to use their cell phones to record incidents of bullying?


A: Cell phone while not going to prevent bullying can be an effective tool in recording incidents that could ultimately be helpful in insuring that there are consequences and accountability when a bullying incident occurs. A cellphone could be helpful to prove what may happen and allows police authorities and school officials to not have to rely on what someone says or doesn’t say, I believe it helps to use cell phones and other technologies to document incidents.  Evidence can also show if teachers are doing or not doing their job to stop bullying, who else was involved in the bullying incident and to provide evidence before it is deleted digitally.

Q: What do you think about bystanders being taught to take out their cell phones to tape or record bullying as a way to support a target of bullying and encourage others to take out their cell phones as well?


A: It is important not only to train young people to take out their cell phones and other recording devices in order to document the incident, but also to teach them what to do with it.  Meaning, that it is important to use this as an opportunity to discuss that the phone is helpful as a tool for memorializing bullying incidents. However, it is critical to make sure kids know that they need to report incidents and use the footage as corroboration. Simply relying on video is not enough…it is a step that must be combined with reporting, follow up, and insistence that people who have the power to do something, do.

Q: Can you explain what you mean when you say they need to document it?


A:  Recording bullying is not enough.  What needs to go along with that is documentation, which may include, talking to an adult, getting a restraining order against the bully, contacting the media or getting help from the resource officer on campus.  The best approach is collaborative, where several people know about the incident and can help to put a stop to it.  

Q: If a school has a policy against students bringing their cell phones  to school, and teachers and principals don’t enforce bullying polices or ignore bullying, how can students protect themselves?  


A: If teachers and administrators were doing their jobs and making sure students were protected, then students would not need to record bullying incidents. There are policies in place at schools that do not allow for students to bring their cell phones to class. I am not advocating that students go against school policy.  Ideally, schools should have surveillance cameras in classrooms to protect students from teacher abuse, sexual abuse as well as bullying. However, schools could face other liabilities and costs by being mandated to have cameras in classrooms.

Q: To paraphrase, you do not think students should break school policy by bringing their cell phones to school if they are in danger of physical, verbal or psychological violence.  


A: I think kids need to learn to make judgment calls. Part of making that judgment all is for students to be able to identify when it’s a situation that warrant taping a situation.  Ideally, schools did a better job responding and being proactive there would be no need for kids to be in the situation that they would have to decide whether they should breach policy or not.

Written by Melissa Sherman, Executive Director, Beyond Bullies


Special thanks to Leda Costa for writing the introduction. 

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Jul 27 2014in Uncategorized admin Comments Off on


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Ask.fm- Dangerous Combination of Anonymity and the Internet

Jul 2 2014in Home Page, Uncategorized admin Comments Off on Ask.fm- Dangerous Combination of Anonymity and the Internet


Ask.fm is a simple site which allows users to ask and answer questions. But there is one catch- and that’s what makes it all the more popular- the questions can be asked anonymously. So whether kids want to know who their real friends are, or if their crush is single, or whether they are pretty, they ask these questions, hoping for positive answers. But most often, the answers are derogatory, hurtful or crude.

The Internet is the classic example of being tough and mean in front of the screen, but minding your words in public. Anonymity and the Internet do not go hand-in-hand and yet people tend to write something they wouldn’t say to someone’s face.

The Latvia-based site, Ask.fm has recently told its followers on Twitter that it plans to never release the information of anyone who posts to the site. This works as a safety net to cyber-bullies; one can post anything they want, from downright nasty questions to telling people to kill themselves, and the victim will never be able to know the identity of the person.

It seems, most of the victims actually know their tormentors – the site has links to Facebook and Twitter, and they invite their friends to come on Ask.fm and ask them questions, further widening the amount of people who can see their posts.  Emboldened in front of the computer screen, total anonymity promised, cyber-bullies can post whatever they like without the slightest fear of repercussions.

Ask.fm, unlike other social media sites, had a complete lack of any tracking or parental control processes.  ‘Flaming’ or the act of sending or posting offensive messages online is perhaps more common than civility on this site. In a recent survey, which sampled 10,008 young people, aged between 13 – 22 years old (of which 67% were from the UK, 17% from the USA, 12% from Australia and 4% from other countries), it has been found that 7 out of 10 users have been the victims of cyber-bullying, and Ask.fm joins social media giants like Facebook and Twitter as the most common sites the bullies target.

Ask. fm requires users to be at least 13, but younger kids lie about their age to use it. A video option is also available, where the user answers the question using a web-cam, providing users with an opportunity to tag other users by putting @ symbol followed by the username.

A function to disable anonymous questions has been introduced, but all posts are by default public. There are privacy controls, but even non-users can view the answers and the questions. There seems to be no way around this unsafe feature; once you post something, it will be there for everyone to see.  There does seem to be some things that this site is doing right. Users and even non-users can report a post if they find it to be offensive.  When you move your mouse over any post on someone else’s profile, you will see an option to like the post and also a drop down arrow which allows you to report the post for one of four reasons.

And it also possible to block users-by scrolling to the bottom of their profile page and clicking on block. Users can also remove any questions from their own profile by clicking on the cross in the top right hand corner of every question and answer. For more information on how to be safe on the site click this.

One unfortunate feature related to Ask.fm cyber bullying is the ability of users of the site to “hack” the site to ascertain the identities of anonymous users of the site to continue the “conversation.” According to Google, there are many ways to achieve this. At one point, there was also an Android app to help get around the anonymity.

There have been cases, in which the cyber-bullying on Ask.fm took such a drastic turn, that it ended up driving nine young people to suicide. One of them, Hannah Smith, was bullied even after her suicide, with mean comments written underneath her photos on social media. The family of Anthony Stubb, another teen who hanged himself after cease-less cyber-bullying on the site, have called for the website to shut down.

Prominent report buttons were added after the site came under intense pressure from concerned parents after Hannah’s suicide. More staff was also hired to deal with abusive messages and a separate website created with information for parents, termed as a partial victory by Hannah’s grieving father.


Written by Ravneet Sandhu, volunteer Beyond Bullies




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Cyber-bullying is a rapidly growing issue. Learn how to protect yourself Now

May 10 2014in Uncategorized, Whats New admin Comments Off on Cyber-bullying is a rapidly growing issue. Learn how to protect yourself Now

​Protect Yourself on the Internet from Cyberbullying

Stand outside and count as three teenagers pass by; one, two and three.  Now, do it again.  In less than two minutes, you will have counted at least two people who have been cyberbullied.  The sad part, is half of them don’t tell their parents or other adults, even when the bullying hurts or becomes seriously harmful.

 Cyber-bullying is a rapidly growing issue and it shows no signs of slowing down. With the rise of social media sites and digital technology in the hands of youth, knowing how to protect oneself from cyberbullying has never been as important as it is now.


 On nearly every trending post in the Twitter-sphere, you can find profanity and obscene remarks. Users can protect themselves by reporting and filling out an abuse form or an in-tweet report button on mobile web (which, however, is only available in the UK).

 However, this doesn’t always stop the bully. Should their account be reported, the perpetrator can make a fake one and continue to torment you and others.

 To see results immediately, lock your account so that it is private and visible only to your followers. If there is a person cyberbulling you, keep all records of your interactions and show a copy to your parents, your teacher, or another trusted adult. You can also take a screenshot by pressing PrtScn on the top of your keyboard followed by pasting it into a Word document or Notepad.  If you would like more steps on how to protect yourself, Click.


 On Facebook, cyber-bullying takes the form of being tagged in lewd or humiliating photos, getting unwanted posts on your wall, or being mobbed with inappropriate, hurtful, and unwanted messages.  Even a hate-page can be created against you, which after reported, may or may not be taken down by Facebook.

 To keep yourself safe, only “friend” people you know, block those who persistently make you uncomfortable and report any cyberbullying you see posted, whether it’s someone you know or not. Being socially responsible means looking out for all people online.  Additionally, keep the privacy settings on your time-line stringent, change the tagging feature available to only friends and use passwords that aren’t common. And remember: do not give out personal details, including your telephone number, address, and school name on social media sites.

 You can also work with someone you trust when using Facebook’s Social Reporting tool by sending a copy of the abusive content to them, which will also generate a report on Facebook.


 In this world of captured moments, malicious or embarrassing photos can be posted for followers to see, or an insulting remark or a hash-tag may be written underneath your photo.  In fact, bullies can use the “Add People” feature and tag an image with your name without even having to follow you. If the bully is not following you, you will NOT be notified about the photo nor will you be able to see the tag or comments.  Even private text messages can be copied through screenshots and put up on Instagram.

To protect yourself, remove geo-tagging from all images, keep your account private, share confidential details with only whom you trust implicitly and choose all pictures you post with the utmost care.


On Tumblr, it is difficult to create privacy settings that prevent information from being public. As a result, everything you post is public. Therefore, share only the things you don’t mind being copied, pasted and tagged as they may be used against you.  Additionally, people on Tumblr can ask you questions or post nasty comments anonymously, which means you don’t know the identity of the person asking the question.

To stop bullies from attacking you, block any person who makes you uncomfortable and turn off anonymous messages.

Social media sites, if utilized properly can be a boon to all.  You can message a classmate to put up photos of the assignment you missed, talk with a cousin who moved overseas when you were little, or share pictures of your baby nephew.  Just follow the simple rules you were taught as a kid- don’t talk to strangers, don’t do anything that you might regret later on, and be nice to people. By doing this, you’ll avoid most of the problems.  

Written by Ravneet Sandhu

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