How JoJo Siwa Stands Up to Bullies

JoJo Siwa, the almost 16-year-old, Nebraska-native JoJo Siwa first became famous by appearing as a reality TVstar on Lifetime’s Dance Moms and Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition.

She is now more popularly known for her adorable music videos, JoJo merch, sparkles and hair bows, and huge social media following (8.7 million on YouTube and counting!). But everything isn’t always sunshine and rainbows for the famous 15-year-old.

One of JoJo’s earliest hits was the 2016 single “Boomerang,” in which she sings about cyberbullying and the courage to move beyond the negativity. Siwa chatted with TODAY Style for the “Why I Love My” series to share how she deals with internet haters and how she’s learned to love her hairline… even if she jokes it’s more of a “fivehead” than a forehead.

Focus on those 10 nice comments, and don’t let that one hate comment get to your day.”-Jojo


Siwa is also known for promoting positivity and anti-bullying messages in her various media appearances, which is something that JCPenney wanted to include in their merchandise line.

Fans of the teen star can expect to see a brightly colored clothing and merchandise line from JCPenney, with shirts, dresses, leggings, and jackets all featuring Siwa. The clothing also incorporates Siwa’s favorite things: bows, emojis, the color pink, and inspirational messages. Other than clothing, JCPenney has also released a merchandise line that includes comforters, bow-shaped pillows, as well as a JoJo doll that can sing.

Her famous bows represent more than a hair accessory, Jojo stated on Jimmy Fallon that, “If you’re wearing a Jojo bow you’re a Siwanator, and if you’re a Siwanator, you are someone who is strong, confident, powerful. You believe in yourself, you believe in everyone….” You are essentially an ally. If you see someone else in school wearing a Jojo bow, you know that you can find friendship with them.

Her advice to other kids getting bullied, “The message that I would give to anyone who was being bullied would be: just be yourself and don’t worry about the haters because it doesn’t matter. Honestly, come back like a boomerang!”

Be Internet Awesome

 

February 5th, 2019 is Safer Internet Day (SID). A promotional Holiday for kids all over the globe. Safer Internet Day aims to not only create a safer internet but also a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.

 

“The campaign aims to reach out to children and young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators, and social workers, as well as industry, decision makers and politicians, to encourage everyone to play their part in creating a better internet. By celebrating the positive power of the internet, the Safer Internet Day slogan of Together for a better internet encourages everyone to join the movement, to participate, and to make the most of the internet’s potential to bring people together. With a global, community-led approach, Safer Internet Day encourages everyone to come together and play their part.”

 

Safer Internet Day U.S. is made possible by the generous support of Comcast, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Snapchat, Symantec/LifeLock, Oculus, Trend Micro, and Twitter.

 

To make the most of the Internet, kids need to be prepared to make smart decisions. Be Internet Awesome teaches kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence.

 

The core of the education practices is to teach children, ultimately, how to be “Internet Awesome”. The fundaments are in The Internet Code of Awesome, which states:

BE INTERNET SMART
Share with Care

Good (and bad) news travels fast online, and without some forethought, kids can find themselves in tricky situations that have lasting consequences. The solve? Learning how to share with those they know and those they don’t.

 

BE INTERNET ALERT
Don’t Fall for Fake

It’s important to help kids become aware that people and situations online aren’t always as they seem. Discerning between what’s real and what’s fake is a very real lesson in online safety.

 

BE INTERNET STRONG
Secure Your Secrets

Personal privacy and security are just as important online as they are offline. Safeguarding valuable information helps kids avoid damaging their devices, reputations, and relationships.

 

BE INTERNET KIND
It’s Cool to Be Kind

The Internet is a powerful amplifier that can be used to spread positivity or negativity. Kids can take the high road by applying the concept of “treat others as you would like to be treated” to their actions online, creating a positive impact for others and disempowering bullying behavior

Breaking Down Michigan’s New Cyberbullying Laws

 

Like most states, Michigan already has cyberbullying laws in place. The laws currently in place state that each school district has to have a policy against cyberbullying. However, those laws are specific to schools, and their students. Cyberbullying can happen outside of schools and to individuals who have been out of schoo for many years. This new law actually makes cyberbullying a crime and gives law enforcement a way to enforce anti-cyberbullying laws against people who aren’t students or when students do this outside of school and off of school grounds. It also covers if the behavior is committed using a telecommunications access device, or if the telecommunications service provider is owned by or under the control of the school district.

Michigan lawmakers took action to fight cyberbullying last year, and the law took effect at the end of 2018.

 

These new laws were largely put into motion because of the tragic loss of Zoe Johnson , a 13-year-old Michigan girl . Her mother believes she committed suicide after being bullied and taunted by classmates on Facebook. At the time, police said the social media posts did not indicate criminal wrongdoing.

 

“Cyberbullying can cause just as much trauma as traditional bullying so it’s important that it be considered a crime,” said Gov. Rick Snyder, in a statement. 

 

Part of Michigan’s anti-bullying laws is giving a definition of bullying and cyberbullying:

Stopbullying.gov, states that, “Bullying” means any written, verbal, or physical act, or any electronic communication, including, but not limited to, cyberbullying, that is intended or that a reasonable person would know is likely to harm 1 or more pupils either directly or indirectly by doing any of the following:

   (i) Substantially interfering with educational opportunities, benefits, or programs of 1 or more pupils.

   (ii)  Adversely affecting the ability of a pupil to participate in or benefit from the school district’s or public school’s educational programs or activities by placing the pupil in reasonable fear of physical harm or by causing substantial emotional distress.

   (iii) Having an actual and substantial detrimental effect on a pupil’s physical or mental health.

   (iv) Causing substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school.

“Cyberbullying” means any electronic communication that is intended or that a reasonable person would know is likely to harm 1 or more pupils either directly or indirectly by doing any of the following:

   (i) Substantially interfering with educational opportunities, benefits, or programs of 1 or more pupils.

   (ii)  Adversely affecting the ability of a pupil to participate in or benefit from the school district’s or public school’s educational programs or activities by placing the pupil in reasonable fear of physical harm or by causing substantial emotional distress.

   (iii) Having an actual and substantial detrimental effect on a pupil’s physical or mental health.

   (iv) Causing substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school.

 

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

The Familiar Face of a Cyberbully

 

When we think about cyberbullies, the face that often comes to mind is that of a stranger: this hooded figure, prowling the internet, searching for someone they can attack, belittle, and damage online. They are a faceless, nameless person who believes that by remaining anonymous online, their identity can never be discovered. And even if you were to discover their true identity, it would come as no surprise that the culprit was the mean girl, the egotistical jock, or the school bully.

 

Unfortunately, this is not the case for many cyberbullying victims. The attacker has a face – one the victim is all too familiar with. According to a 2016 study that was presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA), “the likelihood of cyberbullying [is] approximately seven times greater between current or former friends and dating partners than between young people who had neither been friends nor had dated.” Your cyberbully could very well be your best friend. While this may be a very hard pill to swallow, the fact that girls were twice as likely as boys to fall victim to cyberbullying, is less shocking.

 

Diane Felmlee, a professor of sociology at Pennsylvania State University and the lead author of the study, explains why friends and former partners are so often times the perpetrators of these online attacks and rumors.

 

“Friends, or former friends, are particularly likely to find themselves in situations in which they are vying for the same school, club, and/or sport positions and social connections…young people often have resentful and hurt feelings as a result of a breakup, and they may take out these feelings on a former partner via cyber aggression.”

 

Knowing the perpetrator of the attack is someone so close to them can also impact a victim’s decision to come forward and report the bullying. Even more challenging is figuring out how to deal with the situation, as acting out in retaliation is exactly what the bullying is looking for from you. As is with any case of bullying, friend or foe, the best and hardest thing for the victim to do is walk away – not just from the attacks and the rumors, but from the relationship as a whole.

 

In the 2011 ABC Family movie “Cyberbully,” the main character Taylor, played by actress Emily Osment, learns this lesson the hard way. In the film, Taylor is terrorized by her classmates’ constant horrible comments, all of which were sparked by one rumor started by a boy Taylor met online. It is later revealed that Taylor’s best friend Samantha, played by Kay Panabaker, created the boy’s fake profile and started the rumor.

 

When you pull the cord to reveal the person behind the curtain, be prepared for who you might find. If you or someone you know is a victim of cyberbullying, or someone you know is the perpetrator, please tell a trusted adult.

 

Published by GetnSocial

A Playground Free of Cyber Bullies

Since the beginning of time humans have been driven to compete. In some part of our makeup lives a wire constantly sending messages, be the best. People live with the false idea that we must compete against one another: for best athlete, most liked, or least gossiped about. While the mere idea of competing is not harmful, it can easily turn into an ugly game. The competition of likes and retweets has turned into an arena powered by bullies hiding behind a 5 X 3-inch screen. What may have been created with good intentions is now paved with dirty secrets and twisted truths. All people who are present on social media should be held responsible for maintaining a healthy environment.

Likes, Retweets, and Shares

Everything that was once posted or deleted can be seen by many. Every post that hits the digital world is seen and re-shared for others to digest the information. Once someone has published their content, it is out there for the world to see. Even after something has been “removed,” the impact remains. A negative comment or inappropriate picture can easily make its rounds to multiple parties. Likes, retweets, and shares encourage conversation – both positive and negative. Becoming conscious users, before posting something detrimental, will make for a more positive playground for creative users.

Screenshots, Group Chats, and Locker Room Talk

What happens on social media does not simply remain on a screen. People often take screenshots and send them to others to inform them of whatever gossip they deem juicy. Group chats isolate the subject and make for an easy way to attack a defenseless victim. People live to not only come in first place, but to ensure that no one else will be there beside them. Our competitive nature can lead to the putting down of others on social media, and often extends the conversation into the locker room. The game of “who’s hottest” or “least attractive” is determined by likes and by laughs, both on social media and outside. Having a conscious mind before posting a negative comment eliminates the nasty talk inside and outside of the cyber-world.

Bullies exist because we allow them to. By being conscious players on social media, we can also be conscious consumers. When something cruel or unkind is read online, do not sit back and let it happen. Be proactive. Be conscious of what you post and speak out when someone else is not playing by the rules. Take your competitive side and use social media not as a competition, but as a way for others to thrive beside you. The cyber world is not meant to be driven by trolls, rather it is meant to be used by those who are open minded and accepting. Every like, retweet, and share makes an impact. When you see someone crossing the line, cross it too – but only to tell them to play nice. Bullies hide behind a screen, but you have the power to shatter the social norm of silence and eliminate the cyber world of cyber bullies.

Published by GetnSocial