NEWS RELEASE: Sexting and Cyberbullying Among Topics at Summit March 16

A news conference will be held Friday, January 28, when Verizon officially presents a grant at 3:30 p.m. in the Faculty Dining Room of Choate House on the Pleasantville Campus.


Safe use of mobile devices for young people to be advocated
at summit for students, educators, industry, policymakers

Sexting, cyberbullying, distracted driving
among topics at event in Pleasantville March 16

Partnership of Pace University and WiredSafety will challenge leaders to adopt best practices

PLEASANTVILLE, NY, January 25, 2010 – Safer use of mobile devices by young people will be the focus of a Mobile Safety Summit which will include challenges from students and educators to policymakers and the mobile device industry.

The event will take place on Pace University’s campus in Pleasantville, New York, on March 16.

The University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems is once again collaborating with the WiredSafety organization and its executive director, Parry Aftab, a leading international cybersafety expert. The Verizon Foundation is partially funding the events. The partners held a previous gathering on cyberbullying in 2008.

“Cyberbullying, sexting, and distracted driving are impacting youth, and solutions must include youth voices to be effective,” ” Aftab said. “This summit will bring educators and young people together with the industry, experts, and policymakers for a common goal – creating safer, well-designed, and innovative mobile offerings for everyone.”

Panels and breakout sessions will encourage participants to frame an action plan for moving forward on the best practices in mobile safety.

Additional details will be made available at a news conference Friday, January 28, when Verizon officially presents its grant at 3:30 p.m. in the Faculty Dining Room of Choate House on the Pleasantville Campus. Entrance 3, 861 Bedford Road. Media admission by press pass.

News conference participants will include Aftab and Nancy Hale, PhD., the Pace professor of information technology who is co-organizing the conference, as well as Constance Knapp, PhD, acting dean of the Seidenberg School, and Catherine Gasteyer, Verizon’s director of government and external affairs for mid-state New York.

More information is available here.

Youth perspectives

The summit will concentrate on students and educators. The Verizon Foundation is providing a $15,000 grant to help bring information and awareness on mobile safety and cyberbullying to high school and college students, and to spread their concerns to adults who can act on them.

The session will help define the issues of mobile safety from students’ perspectives.

Media welcome. Contact Cara Cea, 914-906-9680 if planning to attend.

Groundbreaking concerns

“WiredSafety and I are excited about partnering again with Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems,” said Aftab. “In these areas the Seidenberg students, administration, and professors are among the world’s best. Our last collaboration, the International Cyberbullying Summit in 2008, was the first of its kind. With the growth of mobile devices, technologies and apps, we expect this mobile innovation, safety, and best practices event will be just as groundbreaking.”

“Verizon has a long-standing commitment to internet safety,” said Gasteyer. “We serve millions of broadband customers through our wireless and wired networks. As such, we are committed to protecting children and young people online, and making sure the Internet is safe, educational, and fun for them. This grant is a good fit for Verizon, and we are proud to work with Pace University for a second time to empower educators, parents, and children on this front.”

“We are grateful to the Verizon Foundation for this grant that will let us offer a vital community resource and formulate a best practice model for keeping young people safe,” Hale said.

About Pace and the Seidenberg School

Inherent in The Seidenberg School’s activities and services to students, businesses, and the community is the belief that information technologies are tools for the empowerment of people. Established in 1983, Seidenberg is the youngest school within Pace University. Its mission is to prepare men and women for professional work, research, and lifelong participation in a new and dynamic information age. The school offers a student-oriented environment; small classes; committed teaching; research with professors; innovative programs, projects, and partnerships; and convenient multi-campus locations in New York City and Westchester County as well as online courses and programs.

About Wired Safety is the world’s oldest digital safety group, providing education, information, and one-to-one help for consumers. Its website is the most popular cyberbullying prevention website in the world and helps inform young people, parents, community organizations, educators, the industry, policymakers, and law enforcement about the issue affecting more than two thirds of US teens. is one of five members of Facebook’s International Safety Advisory Board, is a member of the advisory board for MTV’s cyberharassment initiative,, and created the Girl Scouts of the USA’s cybersafety program, WiredSafety’s executive director, Parry Aftab, is a digital privacy and security lawyer and author, and the recipient of the latest FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award, which will be presented in March 2011.

Parry Aftab, WiredSafety, 201-463-8663,
Chris Cory, Pace media relations, 212-346-1117, cell 917-608-8164, – “Cyberbullying and Kids’ Safety”

The Numbers Behind Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is more than just a passing fad. “Studies suggest that between 17 and 60 percent of teens are the victim of some form of cyberbullying,” says Richard Shadick, PhD, a psychologist and director of the Counseling Center at Pace University in New York. “Rates differ based upon the age of the teens studied and how frequently they use the Internet. Older teens who use the Internet more frequently have higher rates. However, there is agreement that cyberbullying has increased in recent years.”

Though bullying in school is not new, the methods now include harassment online, and in all forms of digital communication –

“Although the risks of cyberbullying are similar to non-electronic forms of bullying,  there are some important differences, ” notes Pace’s Dr. Richard Shadick. 

“There are the traditional risks such as psychological symptoms that may impair a teen’s ability to function at school or work or interact with classmates, friends, and family, ” said Dr. Shadick.  “Unique risks are victims may not know the bully (due to the anonymity of the internet), that there is not a direct physical effect (no immediate physical harm is present), and the bullying may spread quickly to a large number of third parties (for example, an email sent out to many recipients or something posted on a blog that is read by many people).”