New Case of Bullycide Make Us Take Stock

Last month’s arrest of two Florida girls whose relentless cyberbullying drove twelve-year-old Rebecca Sedwick to suicide has, for many parents, refreshed anxiety.

It also points to some glaring blind spots many of us non-teens have.

Sedwick’s mother’s, Tricia Norman, thought she knew what was happening in her daughter’s online world because she checked Rebecca’s phone texts and Facebook regularly. Unbeknownst to Norman, Rebecca had signed on to a number of other apps that allowed the bullying to continue under the radar.

For parents worried about being in the dark, here are four unfamiliar places where cyberbullies might lurk. If you see these apps on your child’s phone, get familiar with them:

  • Voxer Walkie Talkie: The main feature of Walkie Talkie is its “push-to-talk” system. This free app lets you send instant texts, audio and photos, and messages can either stream live or users can listen later.
  • A social networking site with a Q&A bent. The option of anonymity is particularly worrisome.
  • Kik Messenger: A texting app that requires only user names (not phone numbers) that allows for group texting. Before jumping to her death, Rebecca Sedwick changed her name on Kik to “That Dead Girl” and sent a goodbye message to two friends.

Table of Contents

About the Author

Clayton Cranford
Clayton Cranford is a retired Sergeant from Orange County Sheriff's Department in California and owner of Total Safety Solutions LLC. Clayton is one of the nation’s leading law enforcement educators on social media, child safety, and behavioral threat assessments. Clayton is the author of the definitive book on cyber safety for families, “Parenting in the Digital World.” Clayton has more than 20 years of teaching experience and was awarded the 2015 National Bullying Prevention Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council, and the 2015 American Legion Medal of Merit. Clayton was a member of the County's Behavioral Threat Assessment Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, School Resource Officer program, and Juvenile Bureau.