PITTSBURGH – As many as 1 in 3 teens experience cyber harassment – with that number likely to grow each year – leaving teens and parents to navigate a confusing and contradictory process that often does not punish perpetrators, while leaving the victim in turmoil and with little recourse.
50 Shades of Silence, a global movement to bring voice and dignity to victims of cyber harassment and online crimes, supports the victims of cyber harassment through a comprehensive set of resources dedicated to ending this kind of violence.
Darieth Chisolm, Emmy award-winning television personality and veteran journalist, business coach, author and speaker, created 50 Shades of Silence after she was cyber stalked and cyber raped by an ex-boyfriend. The 50 Shades of Silence movement aims to advocate for stricter laws and tougher enforcement for cyber sexual crimes; encourage the accountability and responsiveness among online companies; promote social responsibility for texting, posting and sharing online; and restore dignity and respect to victims and survivors.
A 2016 study from the Cyberbullying Research Center found that nearly 34% of teens in the United States have been cyber bullied. The terms “cyber bullying” and “cyber harassment” mean to use technology, such as the internet, texts, email, instant messaging, and phone calls, to repeatedly and intentionally harass or mistreat a person or a group online. Other terms used – sometimes interchangeable – include revenge porn, non-consensual pornography, cyber sexual assault, cyber rape, and digital domestic violence.
“Teens are increasingly becoming targets of online harassment and abuse, and the number of those being victimized are escalating every year. The first step to ending cyber harassment is to be aware of how prevalent this type of abuse is for our teen population. Make no mistake, just because this kind of harassment occurs online, it is still abuse and is a violent act that produces fear and humiliation,” said Chisolm.
Cyber Harassment Tips for Parents and Teens
With 1 in 3 teens experiencing cyber harassment, there are several specific steps that parents and teens can take to lessen their exposure to this type of crime:
- Parents should make sure that their own electronic devices, including computers, cell phones, and tablets, are only used by people they trust. They should also have their teens log completely out of their computers and their social media accounts when they are not using them to ensure that no one can gain access to their accounts and cyberstalk them.
- Every social media account should have the most stringent privacy settings enabled to prevent access to teens who are using these platforms. Parents should also tighten privacy settings on their own accounts, since they often post about their children’s activities, which can give cyber stalkers back-door access.
- In addition to monitoring their children’s online communication, parents should also stress how important it is to tell an adult if their teen feels they are being harassed online.
“Everyone has a part to play in the prevention of teen cyberstalking. The 50 Shades of Silence app offers critical tools and resources to victims and survivors of cyber harassment crimes. We want teens, parents, and advocates to have immediate access to resources that give them the support they need and help them become advocates,” said Chisolm.
Chisolm and 50 Shades of Silence has partnered with BADASS (Battling Against Demeaning and Abusive Selfie Sharing) Army and March Against Revenge Porn and will be participating in the March in downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday, June 30, 2018. The March begins at 12 p.m. on the steps of the Pittsburgh City-County Building portico, followed by a short walk along Grant Street, down The Boulevard of the Allies to Point Park University for a 1 p.m. rally.
All interested participants are invited to the March and the rally. To register and stay updated, participants should download the 50 Shades of Silence app, available in the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store, by visiting www.50shadesofsilence.com. Once registered, be sure to accept and turn on notifications to get important real time notifications during the march.
For interview requests or more information please email: email@example.com or call 202-670-5729.
About 50 Shades of Silence
50 Shades of Silence is a social justice project and feature length documentary. This multimedia global movement also includes a website with resources and services, and motivational and empowerment training materials to help victims find their Everyday Courage. The project is designed to educate, advocate, and bring awareness to the needs for stricter law enforcement and stiffer penalties for perpetrators, encourage social responsibility among online companies and Internet users, and restore dignity and respect to victims and survivors.
For more information on the campaign, resources and to hear more of Darieth’s story, please visit www.50shadesofsilence.com or download the 50 Shades of Silence app from the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store.