Cyberbullying: Cincinnati Internet defamation lawyer warns teens the 'camera is always on'

'Don't ever assume you're anonymous'

CINCINNATI -- Whitney Gibson wants teens to know one thing: The camera is always on.  

Just after he was promoted to partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease in Cincinnati, Gibson embarked on a new mission -- warning teens they are far from a nameless, faceless poster on the Internet, despite claims by sites that they can post anonymously and without repercussion. 

  And he's bringing that message to area high schools as part of Social Media Mania, which aims to teach students how to use social media wisely and to avoid situations that could cost them their future. Gibson is on the panel of expert speakers with the group, that began in Beverly Hills, Calif.

"We are planning on taking Social Media Mania to high schools all over Cincinnati," Gibson said. The program started at Mason High School in March and by fall, he plans on making rounds to 30 area schools.

As lead attorney for the internet defamation practice at Vorys, Gibson said he has worked across the country helping pro-athletes, TV producers and major financial corporations from being defamed online. As "anonymity" cases increase, he has taken a closer look at the issue of online bullying.

  The biggest problem with online bullying, Gibson said, is a common "misbelief" that no one will know who you are. He warns, "Don't ever assume your anonymous on any website or app."

"Everyone is promoting 'Oh, no one's going to be able to figure out who you are' is very dangerous for a lot of kids. Don't ever assume you're anonymous. Don't do it under the disbelief that it's not going to be traced back to you," he said, noting there are ways for law enforcement and investigators to track IP address and the true identities of "anonymous" users.

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