Radio Rookies Hosts Live Chat For Teens on Sexual Cyberbullying

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 03:16 PM


Radio Rookies hosted an in-class live chat to coincide with a new story about sexual cyberbullying. Rookie Reporter Temitayo Fagbenle hosted a facilitated online conversation for high school students to discuss the issues her story brings to light.


16-year-old Temitayo Fagbenle is troubled by the fact that her Facebook newsfeed is inundated with sexually explicit photos and videos of other teenage girls that are posted, commented on, and shared countless times by her peers. Teens targeting and shaming each other isn't new but in the past the messages written on bathroom stalls only scarred a girl’s reputation during high school. Temitayo brings listeners inside the cyber world of teenagers to explore how using the internet as a tool to ruin a reputation has repercussions far beyond the schoolyard.

Radio Rookies will facilitate an in-class live chat with students from classrooms around the country to talk about the cyberbullying issues Temitayo's story brings up, including:

  • The atmosphere of judgement and criticism associated with photo sharing and commenting on social network sites, and the double standard that applies to boys and girls
  • Strategies for controlling your online reputation and what teens can do to clean up their digital footprint 
  • The repercussions of sexual cyberbullying both in school and in the courts
  • What can teenagers, educators, policy makers and social media sites can do to help stop cyberbullying

The live chat will take place here on this webpage on Tuesday, January 8th, 2013 from 1PM-2PM EST.

In order to take part in the conversation, students will need to have internet access. Temitayo, the Rookie Reporter, will host the chat with Radio Rookies producers facilitating the discussion and moderating comments (each comment will be read and vetted by an adult producer before it goes live). 

If you’re interested in taking part or have questions, please contact Radio Rookies Associate Producer, Courtney Stein:


Educator Resources:

Common Sense Media created this Gender and Digital Life Toolkit and this Cyberbullying Toolkit to help educators take an effective stance against harassment online and help teachers broach sensitive subjects in their classrooms. 

An educator's guide to websites, organizations, articles, and other resources for combating bullying.


Produced by:

Courtney Stein


Temitayo Fagbenle


More in:

Comments [21]

Jim Cornelio from New Preston, CT


Just heard you on "On Point" and was very impressed.

May I suggest that one of the reasons teens often behave in the dysfunctional manner you describe is because of a culture which infantilizes them. If that possibility intrigues you, I recommend you google Dr. Robert Epstein and his book called "The Case Against Adolescence." Perhaps he might appear on a follow-up show with you should you find his arguments worthy of sharing with your audience and peers.

Best of luck to you.

Jan. 28 2013 12:34 PM
Jennifer from New Brunswick, NJ

This young woman is *fantastic*--just heard this report while driving to work. I predict good things in her future. Thanks for this excellent report. With all the hand-wringing about the youth of today and technology creating new issues, she is absolutely correct that the underlying issues here are timeless and just playing out in a new way with modern technology.

Jan. 23 2013 09:40 AM
Sara S from nyc

An amazing and important piece. Well done, Temitayo. I hope the dialogue continues in a productive way and leads to real change. Thank you.

Jan. 09 2013 02:24 PM

The reporter for this segment has a great future - calm and articulate. Really wonderful.

As to the subject matter: I don't understand why this issue is not part of the "sex talk" every child should get along with birth control, how the body works and how you respect yourself.

This type of cyberbullying could easily be stopped: simply don't pose, have sex with an untrustworthy person or expose yourself in anyway you would find yourself potentially embarrassed.

Jan. 08 2013 06:32 PM
Sarah G. from Massachusetts

I heard your piece while driving to work this morning. This is a difficult issue that you and your team reported on with integrity and honesty.
Well done.

Jan. 08 2013 05:04 PM
Catherine from Brooklyn

I am beyond shocked at how blase everyone seems to be on this issue. This is not simply cyberbullying, which would be bad enough. This is child pornography and should be treated as such. Perhaps kids would stop seeing their peers as "cool" if a few of them were actually prosecuted for creation and distribution of underage pornography. The authorities - whether the parents, the schools, local law enforcement or even federal law enforcement (it is, after all, an internet crime) - should be taking this very seriously.

Jan. 08 2013 05:00 PM

I am of the opinion that children aren't inherently stupid or cruel, nor is there generally a problem in the rearing of a child who acts cruelly. Rather I believe that people in groups act that way. Unfortunately, children are always placed in groups. Separate a child from the group and I think you will see, with the same regularity of adults, that they are compassionate and kind. Of course there is always the hope that a child will attain the strength of character necessary to resist the influences of the group. It's a rare thing though, even in adults.

It seems that almost every case is the same: The child knows what he's doing is wrong. The group influences him to act anyways (Rewards cruel behavior with praise and peer relations, which adolescent children desperately crave). He later attempts to justify his actions or deflect blame in order to protect his conscience.

Jan. 08 2013 04:47 PM
Patrick from Garden City, NY

I am shocked at how unresponsive Facebook is to your request to drop that objectionable photo from their site. How difficult was it to find an actual Facebook representative to talk to, and is their "report" button really effective or just a link to an automated response?

Facebook is a parents nightmare, a disaster. I should know, I am a parent!

Jan. 08 2013 03:36 PM
Margaret from Westchester County

Great topic, but NO SURPRISE, in my opinion.

Putting devices in the hands of pre-adolescents/adolescents who don't have the developmental maturity to handle it, is the issue. The fact that these stories are emerging is disturbing --- yet inevitable. The young mind does not have the maturity surrounding body image, sexuality, relationships, cause and effect, and impulse control.

That said, 24/7 instant imaging, instant messaging, instant sharing, instant posting is BOUND to cause problems with this age group.

States in this country have a waiting period until age 15,16, or 17, in order to "earn" the privilege of driving on our roads. Why are we putting as young as 10 year olds behind the wheel of a device with 24hour worldwide web access???

Jan. 08 2013 11:54 AM
Cynthia Lowen from Brooklyn, NY

Thank you for this important segment. One thing that was echoed by several callers was the difficulty in getting schools to intervene in these cases when the bullying is taking place online, outside of school, and through technologies not owned by the school. While schools may claim that they have no authority to intervene in cyberbullying, this, in fact is not the case. Where sexual harassment and bullying based on sexual discrimination interfere with a child's ability to obtain an education, the Office for Civil Rights has mandated that schools MUST take action. For parents who are faced with a school that will not take action, please see the letter from OCR here:, which outlines the school's responsibility to take action, whether or not the bullying occurred on school grounds, at a school event, or with the school's technology.

Cynthia Lowen
Producer & Writer of BULLY

Jan. 08 2013 11:53 AM
STEVEN KAVEE from New York

As much as the story reflects this disturbing trend, I'm encouraged by the incredibly sensitive and professional reporting by Temitayo, particularly in her fielding calls on Brian Lehrer's show. I think the rookie status needs to be upgraded and I'm looking forward to more from this journalist.

Jan. 08 2013 11:52 AM
Susy from Brooklyn

Temitayo you are amazing! I'm so inspired by your focus. : )
Thanks so much.

Jan. 08 2013 11:45 AM
Clif from Brooklyn

I think this is a great segment! I also think it clearly illustrates that part of the problem is Facebook specifically. Collectively, the world has put all it's eggs in the Facebook basket and has thereby empowered Facebook to an abnormally high degree. If you think about it, this one organization probably has the most data on individuals around the world than all the law enforcement agencies combined.

Couple this with putting a "mini-computer" (mobile phone) into the hands of minors. Are you surprised that this type of activity is happening? Do you think Facebook gives a damn about any of these people?

Common sense needs to make it's appearance in the 21st century!

Jan. 08 2013 11:45 AM
Suzann from Westchester County

Wow! What a powerful segment. Thank you Temitayo and your producers. I have forwarded the links to your show to parents and administrators at our middle school. Best of luck in the future.

Jan. 08 2013 09:47 AM
Joyce from NYC

Powerful piece. Well done! Now I want to ask why the guys (or girls) who take and post the pix, and are the other participant in the sexual activity aren't treated as villains? Rape and sexual abuse is treated as the fault of the victim (= female usually) and not just OK, but "cool" for the perpetrator (= male usually). Here is a world wide story we have to change. Think recent events in India.

Jan. 08 2013 08:57 AM
Jennifer from Milford, PA

Powerfully well done piece! Thank you so much for exploring this important topic and bringing this story to air.

Jan. 08 2013 08:48 AM
john from office

We are raising a generation of idiots. These "kids" have no parental guidence, the issues and problems begin at home.

Jan. 08 2013 08:46 AM
Andrew from Austin

I heard your report on KUT in Austin (I think as part of All Things Considered). I think it was really well done. You drew excellent parallels between the "slut shaming" of today and the "Scarlett Letter." I loved how you brought it full circle back to the "Scarlett Letter" at the end. Excellent work, indeed.

Jan. 08 2013 12:03 AM

Heard the story on KUAC in Fairbanks, Alaska. Very well done story Temitayo. I second the comment of Dan above.

Jan. 07 2013 09:02 PM
Joseph from Kingston RI

I hope you get to talk about Andrew Winters. What happens when fixing problems of discrimination for people in a State University is being left solely to the people who have been targeted? That is what happened with him and the conversation rarely talks about how to protect the people who are reporting bullying. I would really like to see the conversation touch on this.

Jan. 07 2013 06:07 PM

Temitayo, I don't usually listen to WNYC in the afternoon, but I happen to have the day off and the radio on. Your piece aired. I've been a professional journalist for a little more than five years, and if you count the internships and part-time jobs, its close to 10 years - - by no means a veteran, but no longer a rookie.

I just wanted to say your piece was excellent! It made me wince and nearly cry, but it wasn't overwrought. You let yourself be part of the story without becoming the story. Really well done. Best of luck and I expect to hear your name again in the future.

Dec. 28 2012 05:55 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.



Supported by