for the record
- I have included much of what I wrote to this group, related to
curriculum producers and others who are using stories of youth suicide
as a way to try to prevent cyberbullying, in several passages in the
book I am writing. I just sent these passages to the Executive Director
of the American Association of Suicidology.
Here is his response:
What you have written is sound, appropriate, and on target.
Lanny Berman, Ph.D., ABPP
American Association of Suicidology
This group may recall that a while back I reported on a situation where
I testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee that was considering a
bill that would have provided $25 M to DOJ to provide to organizations
that wanted to produce Internet safety curriculum. This bill was backed
strongly by Parry Aftab, Web Wise Kids, and others.
I provided the committee with accurate data on Internet risk. Because
all of the curriculum and materials thus far funded by DOJ is not, in my
opinion, effective and because I do not think the federal government
should be financially supporting the development of curriculum, I
suggested this was not appropriate. I further suggested that funding was
needed - to be distributed through mental health, education, and justice
- to address the more significant risks faced by a minority of youth.
It appeared that some of the Internet safety organizations that were
backing the bill, who knew in advance what I was going to say, worked
with its sponsor, Rep Wasserman Schultz. In the hearing she told the
committee that I was downplaying the risks and had "no credibility." So
I do have some insight into being "attacked." I did, almost
singlehandedly, defeat this bill.
I will continue to address these issues, to the best of my ability, in a
manner that is grounded in the research insight and effective prevention
Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
Resources for Cyber Savvy Schools:
Cyber-Secure Schools in a Web 2.0 World
Cyberbullying, Cyberthreats & Sexting
Cyber Savvy Teachers: Internet Safety Education