Friday, July 24, 2009

Verizon | International “Stop Cyberbullying” Conference

Verizon | International “Stop Cyberbullying” ConferenceWant to stop cyberbullying? Visit and check out the upcoming stopcyberbullying toolkit for schools.

Girl Scouts of Western North Carolina Pisgah Council

Girl Scouts of Western North Carolina Pisgah Councilcheck out the latest form the girls couts and the new training program Parry set up.

SLJ Talks to WiredSafety's Parry Aftab about Cyberbullying - 4/16/2008 2:10:00 PM - School Library Journal

SLJ Talks to WiredSafety's Parry Aftab about Cyberbullying - 4/16/2008 2:10:00 PM - School Library Journal

How Fast they Learn

Online Games for Children

In today’s world, the internet is part of our everyday lives. There are literally hundreds of games that are available to play online, but how many of them are safe for children? While many online games are directed at teens and adults, there are many that are directed to younger children under 13. These games usually help children learn about internet safety and how to interact with others, and most have messages about education, the environment or about cultural diversity. Here is a list of games that are safe for children that both the child and the parent will like!

1. Club Penguin – Disney’s Club Penguin lets your child create their own penguin character to explore the virtual world and interact with other players from around the globe. There are many games based around the island that can be played alone or be played with friends. Players can earn coins to buy different clothing and accessories for the penguins or to buy their very own pet to care and look after. Club Penguin is an intro to social networking and uses many safety features, like having a very flexible language filter to stop vulgar language and requiring a parental email account to let them know that their child is playing the game. Memberships are available to access more content and games.

2. Buildabearville¬ – Build-a-Bear Workshop’s Buildabearville is an interactive world where you can bring your stuffed animal friend to life! Play games with other players and your furry friends to ear bear bills to buy new cloths for your avatar or your bear or even a pair of rollerblades or a skateboard to help get you from place to place faster. The game only allows pre-approved words to be said, so there is no chance your child should ever come across bad language. The game also has parental controls to restrict the child’s interaction with other players if the parent chooses to do so.

3. Webkinz – Webkinz is a virtual world where the Webkinz toy you bought in store is brought to life in an interactive world. Players can play games, do jobs and other activities to earn KinzCash that can then be used to buy food for your pet, buy furniture for their room or their pets’ room and other accessories. Players can feed, pet, groom and play with their Webkinz and invite other players to their house to play games and chat. Parents can chose whether to allow a safe chat that uses a language filter, or only allow pre-approved words and phrases from a list to communicate with other players.

4. Neopets – Set in the virtual world of Neopia, players can adopt their very own Neopet to take care of. Players can play a multitude of games to earn neopoints, which can be used to buy food to feed their neopets, furniture for their homes, play other games and much more. The game itself has very little chat involved, and the chat that does exist is always moderated. Players can even make their own shops to display the items they have collected throughout the game, and players can even pit their neopet against each another for added fun. The game is constantly expanding with new areas, items and games for everyone to play.

5. ToonTown – Another of Disney’s games, ToonTown allows children and families to defend the world from the evil robot Cogs. To progress in the game, players must complete tasks and quests they receive, such as defeating a group of Cogs or by helping lower level players. Players use slap-stick style gags to defeat the Cogs and gain experience points which allows for more powerful gags to be unlocked. Players can also compete in a multitude of minigames either against a computer opponent or friends such as minigolf or tag to obtain jellybeans which act as the in-game currency. To protect children, ToonTown uses three sets of chat modes:
a. Speed Chat, which only allows the player to communicate using pre-approved words and phrases.
b. Speed Chat Plus, which allows a player to use any words that are in the Disney approved dictionary. This allows players to have logical conversation and allows for greater coordination.
c. True Friend Chat requires players to receive a six digit code from each other. True Friend Chat is like Speed Chat Plus where the players can use words that are from the Disney approved dictionary, but only that player can see what is being typed. To other players, it appears as gibberish and animal noises like barking or meowing.
The Parent can change these setting any time by accessing the parental controls. ToonTown does have a subscription option to allow the player greater access to the game like their own house, additional clothing customization and higher character levels.

5. KidZui
Not exactly a game site, more of the Internet for kids. Everything from approved Youtube videos to their favorite sites and games (including those I listed above).
The kids can share their favorite sites and videos, without being able to share personal information. They have a great free version and an even better paid subscription. Comcast just added a special version fot ehri subscribers.

Family of Staten Island murder victim set to file suit over Facebook photo -

Family of Staten Island murder victim set to file suit over Facebook photo - SILive.comThis is a tragic story. But the law is clear. You can't sue Facebook or any other service provider for what their users do. Not unless thei user is controlled by the service provider. The CDA ( a law designed to censor content sent or posted online, originally and that was found laergely unconstitutional) has a provision that provides immunity from suit in these kinds of cases.
While it might sound harsh for a grieving family looking for someone to hold accountable it makes sense.
Would you sue the phone company for what one of their subscribers say on a call? Of course not. And the same rules should apply to a service provider with more than 225 million users. They don't, and don't have to, monitor everything said or posted by their users anymore than the phone company does.
My heart goes out to the family.
But the lawyers should know better.
The law is clear.
They should be going after the people who took and posted the images.
Not Facebook.


IMDb Video: Terrifying Texts Target Preteens

IMDb Video: Terrifying Texts Target Preteens

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sexting for Parents

What is Sexting?

“Sexting” is when someone sends a nude or sexual image to someone else using a cell phone. “Sexing” is when they do it using any interactive device, such as a webcam, digital camera or video, cell phone, game device, etc. Just as “textbullying” is a subset of “cyberbullying” “sexting” is a subset of “sexing.”

How Prevalent is It Really?

It’s everywhere, even where you least expect it – like on your teen’s computer, cellphone and game device. 44% of boys in coed high schools we polled reported seeing at least one image of a fellow female classmate in the nude. Most saw images of more than just one girl. And many saw multiple images of each girl. Your daughter may be among them.
And it’s not just girls. Boys are sending pictures too. They see it as a way to convince the girls that they are a good catch. Some do it when they are just being “boys.”

Younger teen and preteen girls see it as a sophisticated way of “flirting” and to audition for dates with older boys. It starts as young as 11, when the girls want to be “grown-up” and do what the “kewl teens” are doing. Sadly, the “kewl teens” know better, but this message isn’t making it through to the preteens.

It is far more prevalent among upper middle class to upper class teens than lower socio-economic class teens. It is often a product of too much time and technology on their hands. Too much peer pressure, too little self-respect and too few others willing to support pushing back when someone asks for a nude picture are the problem.

What Laws Apply to Taking a Sexting Photo, Sending It to Others or Keeping a Copy?

There are two sets of laws that apply when a minor is involved in sexing, and right now one is too hot and the other too cold:

1. Child pornography or sexual exploitation laws are very serious laws. You may have heard of Megan’s Law [check spelling]. It requires that people convicted of sexual exploitation laws register as sex offenders. Registered sex offenders may not live near a school or a public park and have to register wherever they move. Employers can learn that you are a registered sex offender and most social networks will not allow you to have an account. The laws were designed for the creeps who molest kids. But they also apply to minors who take naked pictures of themselves, share them with boyfriends or girlfriends or share them with others, or keep a copy. These are too hot for most cases of sexing.

2. Harassment laws cover some kinds of cyberbullying and when people use technology to harass others. They may apply if messages are sent anonymously and designed to annoy someone, or if they are designed to harass them. If the sexing images are being sent around, especially if it is being done to make fun of or embarrass another, these may apply to anyone who is forwarding or sharing the images. But they are rarely used and typically only involve a fine and a slap on the wrist. They are too cold.

What we need, like in Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, is an approach that it just right. That would involve converting the child pornography statutes, when un-coerced minors are involved on all sides, to a misdemeanor instead of a felony. This would avoid the sex offender registration. And when sexing is used as the weapon in harassment, we should have higher penalties.

What Should Parents Be Doing?
First, if your teen in involved in a sexing incident, get legal advice and get it early. If it’s your daughter’s or son’s photo that is being circulated or posted, you’ll need help stopping the bleed and having it removed from the networks. Reach out to the cyberstalking and harassment team at and they will show you what to do and give you some help doing it. Let the school know right away. Print out the “What Schools Should Know About Addressing Sexting Incidents” to take with you, or ask them to download it from or
If you son or daughter has received a sextual image or video, delete it right away, or remove it from your cellphone, computer or other device and store it securely as evidence. Do not forward it to Parry Aftab, the police or anyone else. In doing so, you may be breaking the law and could be charged with distribution of child pornography (if the image qualifies as child pornography.

Second, be vigilant and realistic.

Your sweet cherubic fourteen year old daughter may be starring in more videos than last Halloween’s costume competition. If she is sexually active, her boyfriend may be demanding a nude picture to seal their love.
And groups, especially when alcohol is involved, are fertile ground for sexting. Ask your daugher’s friends to park their cell phones with you when sleeping over or attending a party at your house, especially if alcohol is being consumed (with or without your permission). Sexting is often the result of boredom and looking for excitement. The more digital photo capability they have, the more likely someone will use it.

Step-By-Step Proactive Prevention

Take a cyber-inventory.

Start out by asking what devices they carry around or use have photo or video capture features, or can be used to send images or video to others. Include webcams, Xbox and Wii, their cell phones, DS and PSP handheld gaming devices, Playstation 2 and 3, video and still image cameras.

If they want a new device, before you plunk down your hard-earned cash, ask if you can use it to take or store videos or digital pictures. Once you know which devices and technologies are image or video capable, learn how they work. Be aware of what others are bringing into the house for slumber parties or larger parties, and suggest they leave them with you or drop into the party from time to time to deliver soda and chips.

Trust But Verify

It’s important to trust your teens. But all you have to do is think back to your teenhood to know how important it is to verify, not just trust blindly. Ask and then check. Do spot checks without it looking like you are spying on them.
Once you have figured out where and how they can store pictures and videos, verify what is stored there. Check them regularly (make it a tech spot check) for any stored images. Check their laptops and the family desktops, portable drives, flash drives, media cards and any discs. Ask to see their social network profiles and their online accounts, including their instant messaging profiles.
If they have any online free storage services, such as a Microsoft or Sony online account, ask to see those too. Let them know you care and are watching. They may not be thrilled about it, but when Parry did the Good Morning America town meeting special with Diane Sawyer on sexting, of the eight parents selected to do spot checks on their teens, four found something they hadn’t expected. Two found that their teens’ classmates were sexting, and one of those had her images on his computer. If you look, you may find!

Have The Talk

Our recent studies showed that the teens have a “didn’t ask so I didn’t tell” approach. If you want to know what they are doing online, you have to ask.
Share Jessie’s story with them. She ended up taking her own life after her “private” nude image was shared by a boy she was seeing with the world. Before she gave up trying to fix her reputation and be able to walk around school or town without being called names, she appeared in shadow on TV pleading with other teen girls to think before doing the same thing. She didn’t want them to face what she was facing. Sadly, while others may have learned from her message, her own torment didn’t end. She was found hanging in her bedroom closet - dead. She was barely 18.
Use the news as a conversation starter. Just don’t lecture. Our kids don’t react any better to lectures than we did at that age. And teach them to respect themselves enough to withstand peer pressure and pressure from the boys they love.
If you need help, contact Parry Aftab or visit or

Sunday, July 19, 2009

YouTube - Teenangels UN Casi 1

YouTube - Teenangels UN Casi 1Meet Casi, one of Parry's Teenangels presenting before the UN in June 2009.

YouTube - Teenangels...where teens are the Internet safety experts

YouTube - Teenangels...where teens are the Internet safety expertsAre you a teen and an expert on the Internet? Mee Parry's Teenangels.

Suicide Kids Looking For Fame? - CBS News Video

Suicide Kids Looking For Fame? - CBS News VideoWhen teens are troubled, seeing others promote suicide makes it more compelling.

MSN Video - Cynthia Logan talks with Parry and Matt about Jessie's sexting suicide

MSN VideoThis case is too often seen as a sexting story, it's really cyberbullying.

New Safety Rules - CBS News Video

New Safety Rules - CBS News VideoParry talks to CBS Evening News about MySpace

Parry Aftab on Mike and Juliet on Yahoo! Video

Parry Aftab on Mike and Juliet on Yahoo! VideoParry talks to Mike and Juliet on cybersafety

"perry aftab" - Bing Video

"perry aftab" - Bing Videoterrorism testimony

Online Safety Tips For Parents - CBS News Video

Online Safety Tips For Parents - CBS News VideoParry on Early Show

Handheld game devices - what parents need ot know

MSN VideoParry on the Today Show, along with her Tweenangels. Note this is the older DS, now the risks of DSi with WIFI are even greater.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation - News

The Progress & Freedom Foundation - NewsParry and other leaders in cybersafety policy will discuss new laws and what we need with laws, on Capitol Hill July 27th for a lunch briefing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the stopcyberbullying coalition

We have formed a coaltion to address cyberbullying and ways young people use technology as a weapon to hurt others. "Cyberbullying" is minor to minor. The same activities that constitute cyberbullying among young people is called "cyberharassment" when adults are involved. ("Bullying" is typically a term reserved for minors.)
If you are a non-profit, charity, foundation, research group, community organization, school, website, media company or blogger, commercial entity, faith-based organization, governmental entity or agency or a law enforcement organization, we'd love to include you.
let me know.
the more we can get cooperating on this problem, the faster we can address it. Youth organizations are particularly welcome.




Friday, July 03, 2009



Facebook Privacy Enhancements

My thoughts on the new Facebook privacy enhancements. Good news! Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Facebook Privacy Enhancements

Facebook Privacy EnhancementsI have been writing lately about how all of our life segments colliding on Facebook. Our weird cousin Elmo can comment and our uptight boss can see. Our church friends see our wild drunken bashes. Our children can see us ranting about financial pressures. The lines we can draw successfully between the different parts of our lives can;'t be drawn easily when we have one Facebook account and everyone can see everyone else.

Facebook has fixed that. You can select different settings for different subgroups. Only Thanksgiving pics go to cousin Elmo. Only hardworking comments to our boss. Our kids see family things, our drunken buddies don't.

Am thrilled about this!

Now we need ot get everyone to use them. :-)

Judge dismisses MySpace cyberbully case - Network World

Judge temporarily dismisses MySpace cyberbully case - Network WorldI have said from the beginning that I wanted Lori Drew brought to justice. I didn't expect her to serve jail time, but wanted her to face a jury of her peers. She has. Forever she will be remembered at "That Mom!" Far more than jail time, Lori Drew will face a jury of her peers every time she walks down the street, introduces herself or meets new customers. She will always be "that mom!" to millions. That is justice.