How Often are Teens Exposed to Violence Online?

Whether it is through a news story, a nasty text message, or a game that involves stealing cars, violence seems to surround us – and this seems to be especially true with newer technologies. Certainly, it is not hard to find media mentions of awful things that can happen online, including experiences like cyberbullying and nefarious exposures, such as hate sites or pictures of people dead or dying on a news site. Past research has shown that technology-based exposures to and experiences of violence, which includes harassment, bullying, or unwanted sexual exposure, can sometimes be associated with psychosocial challenges. These psychosocial challenges, which can include depression and alcohol abuse, not only affect the young person but also can be a burden for their families and the … [Read more...]

The Truth About Teen Sexting

Does your teen own a cell phone? If you answered yes, then he or she is one of the 75% of youth ages 12–17 who do. Many parents get their teens cell phones so they can reach them in an emergency. Parents also want to be able to talk to their children at any time. What they don’t want is the phone to be used for sexy purposes. Have you heard of “sexting”? Perhaps “sextortion”? These are words made up by people in the media to refer to situations where someone sends a sexy photo to someone else using the picture text messaging function on a cell phone (sexting). In extreme cases, that are more hypothetical than real, the recipient of the picture may extort the sender for money so that his or her naked picture is not released to others (sextortion). To hear the media’s account, … [Read more...]

Texting Teens: Why do they text so much?

Teens text a lot, but why? Who owns a cell phone? If you look around you, the answer seems to be everybody—and it nearly is among young adults 18–29 years old.  In fact, 96% of young adults own a cell phone, according to a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.  You might wonder: Do they really have that much talking to do? Actually, it seems not so much. Young adults are the most avid texters of all age groups, exchanging over 100 texts a day, and 3,200 texts a month (We’ll leave it to you to do the math on yearly averages)!  Other adults average only half as many texts. And what about teens, with their less arthritic fingers? Well, three-fourths of teens 12–17 years old own cell phones and their texting surpasses that of young adults.  There is an interesting … [Read more...]

Classroom Technology

Schools struggle to adapt to using classroom technology If you’ve picked up a newspaper recently, you’ve probably seen a piece on how schools grapple with the influence of technology in kids’ lives. Teachers report that students procrastinate on their homework or stay up too late because they’re using Facebook, playing video games, and texting, among other diversions.   They often use any in-between class time to text whether or not there is a school prohibition on cell phones.[1] Laptops are often permitted in class so that students can use them to take notes, yet teachers also worry that young people are using their computers to surreptitiously surf the Web during class. And on top of these worries, cyberbullying has become a huge problem for schools. Even though it usually takes place … [Read more...]

Maintaining Privacy on Facebook

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me: Teens, Facebook, and Privacy If parents feel like all teens are on Facebook, they’re not far from wrong.  With over 500 million active adult and youth users worldwide[1], the social networking behemoth has a strong hold on teens. Amazingly, almost three in four youth ages 12–17 are on a social networking site. To be sure, Facebook has had its share of privacy issues over the past two years. It has an opaque privacy policy, which requires members to opt out (instead of opt in) or to purposefully restrict their information to keep it from being shared.  Also, when you delete content on your profile, it may still be accessible on other people’s profiles until they delete it. Maybe this is why when parents think of teens online, they do so with … [Read more...]

When CyberBullying Doesn’t Stay Online

How can cyberbullying influence depression? The Internet has impacted and changed the world as we knew it forever. It has and continues to permeate our lives, leaving its mark. Of increasing importance has been the exploration of the effect of Internet use on social and emotional health. Part of this research has been mapping out how experiences online can be either similar or different from those offline. Within this field, comparisons between online and offline bullying and its impact on social and emotional health are starting to receive more attention. The concept of ‘Cyberbullying’ is relatively new to researchers. Exploration of the idea of cyberbullying continues, noting what makes cyberbullies different from in-person bullies. For example, cyberbullies focus their aggression … [Read more...]

Benefits of Teens Using Technology

"Chat room pervert jailed for attack on boy"[1] "Man accused of seducing young girl on web"[2] Headlines like these from the news and shows like NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” have made parents understandably anxious about their teen’s Internet use, especially when it comes to social media websites, like Facebook. The Internet can seem like a big city at night—full of hidden dangers and temptations; a place you wouldn’t let your children go to alone. But is the Internet really such a menace? A report by the Internet Safety Task Force (created by 49 state attorneys general) found that “the problem of bullying among children, both online and offline, poses a far more serious challenge than the sexual solicitation of minors by adults. ”[3] In fact, the report found that “children and … [Read more...]

10 Assumptions We Make about Teens and Media

We all have assumptions about teens and how they use the many different types of media: Teens tweet about anything and everything. Teens are constantly on Facebook updating their “status” and liking other people’s “statues.” The “digital divide” extends to cell phone ownership. But are these really true? Or, are these the twenty-first century version of old wives’ tales—call ’em old Web tales? 1. Teens are the largest number of users on Twitter. Actually, Twitter is more of an “adult thing.” Even then, the data are less overwhelming than we might assume: Only 12% of teens 12–17 use Twitter or other status updating sites.[1]Overall 15% of adults are using Twitter, and 31% of those adults are age18-24.[2] 2.Only teens in higher income households can afford the data plans … [Read more...]

HELLO, facebook!

CiPHR joins Facebook You might not know us or be familiar with all of the work we’ve done to contribute to public health research and advance the public health sphere. We’ve been around for a while (since 2003) but we haven’t had a strong Facebook presence up to now.  We’re looking to change that by involving YOU.   We believe in the power of the person, how sharing information makes a difference, and how we can all learn from each other. It’s so important to us to share what we’re learning about how we can use technology to promote health, and how technology is making our lives better (…and sometimes more challenging!).  We’re REALLY excited to have you here. Please help welcome us in our transition to facebook by “liking” our page and even posting a little hello or a comment about … [Read more...]

Help Create Effective Violence Prevention

A call for more effective violence prevention December 2012 Connecticut School Shooting Position Statement Nine school violence prevention researchers and practitioners nationwide have developed a position statement on the Dec. 14, 2012 Connecticut school shootings that is being disseminated across the U.S. today. It is in response to the tragic acts of violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School and updates the School Shootings Position Statement that was disseminated nationally following the tragic school-related shootings of 2006.  The driving force behind the statement is to communicate scientifically informed principles and recommendations for practitioners, policymakers and the public at large. We are proud that Dr. Ybarra is a signator on the position statement.  The position … [Read more...]