Braintree, MA Holds Cyberbullying Seminar

A small town in Massachusetts is making headlines with the help of a psychology researcher, Elizabeth Englander.

Englander is hosting an event so that families and communities can learn more about preventing cyberbullying and sexting. At 9:30 a.m., on March 20, in Braintree, MA families will be able to gather at the Braintree Town Hall for a presentation and discussion on how technology affects children and why these digital issues can be challenging for parents.

This is not the first time the town has held one of these seminars. Back in 2011, 40 people attended. While the numbers were low, the feedback was very helpful.  

The original purpose of the project was to raise awarness among parents about bullying and cyberbullying. The schools designed a proactive approach to combating the issue of bullying and cyber-bullying in its schools and developed a comprehensive Bully Prevention and Intervention Plan. Administrators, teacher, and other school staff have been trained to detect the warning signs of bullying, how and when to respond when bullying has occurred. In addition, students have been trained in how to prevent bullying and how to speak up and/or report when they witness these incidents. The final element of the Bullying Prevention and Interevtion Plan is to enlist the aid of parents in watching for and addressing bullying. This funding from Milton Hospital, now Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Milton, allowed them to close the loop in the plan by partnering with parents to ban bullying

As a researcher and a professor of Psychology for 25 years, Englander is a nationally recognized expert in the area of bullying, cyberbullying, childhood causes of aggression and abuse, and children’s use of technology.

“This presentation and discussion, led by Dr. Elizabeth Englander, will cover the myths that might be undermining parental confidence; broad issues to think about and why they matter,” an event press release said.”

According to the Patch,

Topics to be discussed include:

  • The impact of technology on brain development, behavior, and relationships.
  • How to talk to your kids about living with technology.
  • How to set rules and boundaries.

Major Win for Feminists Majority Foundation in case against the University of Mary Washington.

Yik Yak, a popular app used by College students in 2014, was under fire when members of the student group Feminists United say they were subjected to cyberbullying, cyberstalking and threats of sexual assault after they spoke out against Greek life on campus and against a distasteful chant the rugby team was recorded singing. Harassment came largely via Yik Yak, a now-defunct social media tool that used geotargeting to allow people on campus to make comments anonymously about others on the campus. In this case, the harassment was not the kind of mocking of feminists that is omnipresent online, but specific threats of violent acts, accompanied by the whereabouts of members of Feminists United, who were identified by name.

Yik Yak was a social media smartphone application that was launched in 2013. It was available for iOS and Android and it allowed people to create and view discussion threads anonymously within a 5-mile radius.

The jury found that officials at Yik Yak could and should have done more to protect students from online harassment.

The incident happened back in 2014 and 2015 and the case was dismissed last years after a Judge found that because the harassment took place on a platform that the University of Mary Washington had very little control over. The group also brought the issue at hand up as aTitle XI case, the Judge also said, “Title IX does not require the school to meet specific demands of its students “.

The case was taken to appellate court where the court ruled 2 to 1 on Wednesday that feminist students who sued the University of Mary Washington for failing to protect them from anonymous online harassment were entitled to pursue their lawsuit. The decision reversed a ruling by a lower court to throw out the lawsuit on First Amendment and other grounds.

This is not the first time the App has been found in the middle of controversy. Yik Yak’s image problems seemed to stem from its reliance on anonymous posts and the few solutions that were available to curtail racist, sexist, aggressive or threatening language.  The app faced a barrage of public image problems, as the platform became known for issues like cyberbullying due to the anonymous nature of user posts. Many high schools used geofences to ban Yik Yak from its campuses and there were several cases of the police subpoenaing Yik Yak after threats were made on the app. With its poor public image, Yik Yak failed to find any substantial advertisers and couldn’t find a sustainable business model.


In this case, the school was found to be negligent but many think the app is to blame for not having stricter guidelines and policies.


Published by GetnSocial