I'm back from wet, overcast, but wonderful Seattle, where I participated in one of the pre-conference panel discussions at the IBPA 7th Annual Conference. The pre-conference panels focused on Youth Risk Online: Issues and Solutions. I was part of the panel discussing investigations and interventions of cyber bullying. My discussions was from the perspective of an attorney who represents people who have been targeted by cyber bullying. Experts were all over the place at the conference. I met Larry Magid, a technology journalist and internet safety advocate who, among other things, writes commentary and columns for CNET News, CBSNews.com, the Huffington Post and the San Jose Mercury News. I met Anne Collier, who is editor of NetFamilyNews.org, and co-director of ConnectSafely.org. Together, they just published "A Parent's Guide to facebook," which you can learn about on the ConnectSafely website under "Great Resources." I just finished reading it, and I can tell you I learned far more than what I already knew. Amazing. And it continues to change. Their guide, published this fall, has a disclaimer that reminds us: "Facebook adds new features and updates old ones on a regular basis." Sounds like the online world. While I listened to the latest news and research in Seattle, I found myself thinking about the Georgia General Assembly, which this year passed a law that includes cyber bullying behavior in the definition of "bullying." I'm sure the General Assembly believed it was doing the right thing, and it should be commended for tackling the topic. But in my next blog post, I'll discuss the issue that what the Georgia General Assembly did — and what other state legislatures are doing — was create a 20th century law for a 21st century issue. Anyway, for more information about IBPA and the conference, click here. Best regards.
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