Cyberbullying is a pervasive problem facing adolescents today.Â Why canâ€™t you just make it stop?Â Why wonâ€™t it just go away?
According to the Cyberbullying Reseach Center:
“There are two challenges today that make it difficult to prevent cyberbullying. First, many people donâ€™t see the harm associated with it. Some attempt to dismiss or disregard cyberbullying because there are â€œmore serious forms of aggression to worry about.â€ While it is true that there are many issues facing adolescents, parents, teachers, and law enforcement today, we first need to accept that cyberbullying is one such problem that will only get more serious if ignored.
Â The other challenge relates to who is willing to step up and take responsibility for responding to inappropriate use of technology. Parents often say that they donâ€™t have the technical skills to keep up with their kidsâ€™ online behavior; teachers are afraid to intervene in behaviors that often occur away from school; and law enforcement is hesitant to get involved unless there is clear evidence of a crime or a significant threat Â Â to someoneâ€™s physical safety. As a result, cyberbullying incidents often slip through the cracks. Indeed, the behavior often continues and escalates because they are not quickly addressed. Based on these challenges, we collectively need to create an environment where kids feel comfortable talking with adults about this problem and feel confident that meaningful steps will be taken to resolve the situation. We also need to get everyone involved â€ youth, parents, educators, counselors, law enforcement, social media companies, and the community at large. It will take a concerted and comprehensive effort from all stakeholders to really make a difference in reducing cyberbullying. ”
Â Monitoring your childrenâ€™s activities online helps open lines of communication to discuss appropriate online behavior.Â Â Placing computers in an open family area allows you to monitor your children and their behavior.Â Google your childâ€™s name and have an open discussion of what you find on line.Â Become a stakeholder in the effort to end cyberbullying.
According to the Cyberbullying Reseach Center a child or teenager may be a victim of cyberbullying if he or she: unexpectedly stops using their computer or cell phone; appears nervous or jumpy when an instant message or email appears; appears uneasy about going to school or outside in general; appears to be angry, depressed, or frustrated after using the computer or cell phone; avoids discussions about what they are doing on the computer or cell phone; or becomes abnormally withdrawn from usual friends and family members.
Parental oversight is the most effective way to monitor your childâ€™s online activities.Â Consider these helpful tips from www.kidshealth.org :
- Become computer literate and learn how to block objectionable material.
- Keep the computer in a common area, not in individual bedrooms, where you can watch and monitor its use.
- Share an email account with your child so you can monitor messages.
- Bookmark kids’ favorite sites for easy access.
- Spend time online together to teach your kids appropriate online behavior.
- Forbid your child from entering private chat rooms; block them with safety features provided by your Internet service provider or with special filtering software. Be aware that posting messages to chat rooms reveals a user’s email address to others.
- Monitor your credit card and phone bills for unfamiliar account charges.
- Find out what, if any, online protection is offered by your child’s school, after-school center, friends’ homes, or anyplace where kids could use a computer without your supervision.
- Take your child seriously if he or she reports an uncomfortable online exchange.
- Forward copies of obscene or threatening messages you or your kids get to your Internet service provider.
Â Taking a proactive approach will keep your children safe on the Internet!
We have heard the stories of children in our community and across the United States so affected by the cruelty of cyberbullying, they see no way out and end their precious lives.Â The turmoil and distress too much for them to bear.Â They pray it will go away and then take matters into their own hands.Â
Being aware of this societal problem is a step in the right direction.Â I will be sharing informationÂ about cyber bullying in this series to help inform you what to look for and how to respond if it happens to your child.
The Cyberbullying Research Center defines cyberbullying as willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computer, cell phones and other electronic devices. One way that Cyber Bullying stands apart from traditional bullying is that often the perpetrator can anonymously mask their identity, or so they think.Â Â Â Cyber Bullying is an easier way to bully because it doesn’t involve face to face interaction. It’s a lot easier to slam someone online than to their face. A teen can quickly spread a rumor through the use of a cell phone by texting many friends at once and as soon as it’s sent the damage is done. Oftentimes teens do this as a reactionary response to something that has angered them and they don’t think through the consequences of their actions.Â (Raychell Cassada Lohmann, MS, LPC, Psychology Today)
Being a victim of cyberbullying can be a common and painful experience. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, cyberbullying is a problem that affects almost half of all American teens. Whether youâ€™ve been a victim of cyberbullying, know someone who has been cyberbullied, or have even cyberbullied yourself, there are steps you and your friends can take to stop cyberbullying and stay cyber-safe.
Consider talking with your children about preventing cyberbullying.Â Â The NCPC suggests the following approach:
- Refuse to pass along cyberbullying messages
- Tell friends to stop cyberbullying
- Block communication with cyberbullies
- Report cyberbullying to a trusted adult
You can also help prevent cyberbullying by
- Speaking with other students, as well as teachers and school administrators, to develop rules against cyberbullying
- Raising awareness of the cyberbullying problem in your community by holding an assembly and creating fliers to give to younger kids or parents
- Sharing NCPCâ€™s anti-cyberbullying message with friends
- Donâ€™t forget that even though you canâ€™t see a cyberbully or the bullyâ€™s victim, cyberbullying causes real problems. If you wouldnâ€™t say it in person, donâ€™t say it online. Delete cyberbullying. Donâ€™t write it. Donâ€™t forward it.
Â Talk to your kids today about cyberbullying.Â Encourage them to take a stand against online bullys.
ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿I am so glad to see you here.Â This blog spot will be a place to share ideas and opinions on issues relating to family law and issues that affect families as well.Â I will be sharing my thoughts on various topics and hopefully informing you about issues important to families and our community.Â Please check back often for articles of interest.
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