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Internet safety blog

Cyberbully

Taylor Hillredge is a teenage girl who is being raised by her single mother. On her seventeenth birthday she receives her own laptop computer. Taylor is excited about the independence of being online to socialize with peers from school and her two best friends. It isn’t much later that Taylor finds herself being the victim of cyberbullying.

Kids these days live in a digital world. They are constantly being bombarded by messages and images, competing for the eye and ‘like’ of a user. This practice has crept into the way teens and people even socialize online. We want to see how many “followers” we can get, or how many “shares” or “likes” we can get on a pictures or comment. This competition has extended so far that people say things to add shock value and appeal, but all hidden behind anonymous names and profiles.

The film Cyberbully does a great job of working in all the hot button issues teens are facing currently including the anonymity that exists online, legal issues that enable cyberbullying, the social pressures of teens engaging in online and digital friendships and relationships, and the emotional problems that inflict the victims and their families.

Cyberbully is a great resource when talking to teens about the dangers that exist online. When talking to your teenagers about cyberbullying, establish the expectations in your home. Children’s moral qualities are shaped day by day by what we register, or failed to acknowledge, in the world around us, and what we ask them to register—whether we let them treat a store clerk as invisible or commented when a child on the playground had been treated unfairly, or pointed out to them neighbor’s good deed. We are constantly affecting their moral abilities by how we define responsibilities for others and by whether we insist that those responsibilities be met. Establish the expectation that when they see it happening, they have the power to stop it and make a change in their environment.

I believe that small acts are powerful. I believe that teenagers being raised today can change the world. The way they will change the world, is by changing one person’s life at a time and it starts with choosing to be kind, it starts with having the courage to stop cyberbullying and to open their mouths. So open your mouth and create a discussion. Create an environment where you can talk to your kids, grandkids, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews about the dangers online and the need to stop cyberbullying.

How to Know More About Apps

New apps come out every day, which makes it difficult to stay up to date on the latest and greatest new app. As a parent this is a frustrating reality, but you don’t have to stay in the dark. A website called SaferKid seeks to help parents to be able to quickly look up information about apps.  The founders have reviewed more than 1,000,000 apps. All you need to do is enter the app you want to find out more information about into the search bar in the app directory, and you have access to age recommendations, risks, and in depth information about that app. This can help when you see a new app on your child’s phone and you don’t know what it does, or your child wants to download a new app.

The website also provides a service for $59.99 per year, where they scan your child’s phone apps to detect unapproved and non age appropriate apps.

Check out this great resource for parents.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Fight Back Against Cyberbullying

From celebrities to students, cyberbullying happens way too often. One way that we as a society can take a stand against the bullies is to empower the bystanders, or those who witness cyberbullying. There is a stigma in our culture about “being a snitch,” so students feel that they can’t report bullying instances. We need to share the message that it is ok to stand up to bullies. It is ok for students to tell an adult if they see someone getting bullied.

Netsmartz.org gives the following advice for bystanders:

  • Don’t encourage bullying behavior – For example, don’t “like” or share mean comments and posts.
  • Don’t participate in the bullying just to fit in.
  • Stand up for the victim – You can offer support through actions such as sending a friendly text message, making a positive post on their page or walking with them in the hallway.
  • Report the bullying to the website or service provider and to an adult you trust.

Several students at an elementary in Bridgewater, Massachusetts saw a friend getting bullied, and they decided to take a stand. Check out the following link to here to hear their story.

It is amazing the things that we can do as we work together to uplift and encourage each other.

 

Tips for Dealing with Bullying or a Bully

Bullying and cyberbullying happen more often than we realize.   www. bullyingstatistics.org provided 6 tip for how to deal with bullying or a bully.

“Tips for dealing with bullying, or a bully

It can be difficult to deal with bullying, or a bully. It is more helpful when a bully’s parents and school are involved as well, working to help diffuse the situation. If you are concerned that your child is the victim of bullying, here are six steps you can take to try and help him or her in dealing with bullying:

  1. Get your child’s input: You need to be a safe place your child can turn for help when dealing with bullying. Be open to your child, and make sure that you are accepting. You should let your child know that being bullied is not his or her fault. Also, you should find out what has been tried to stop the bullying, and what has worked (or hasn’t worked) so far.
  2. Talk to the school authorities: Discuss the problem with your child’s teacher, principal or counselor. A meeting with all three can help everyone know how to help a child who is dealing with bullying. In many cases, bullying takes place in unsupervised areas, such as school buses, bathrooms, playgrounds and other areas that can be hard to monitor. If you know where the bullying is taking place, you can let school authorities know so that they can step up “patrols” in those areas to discourage bullying.
  3. Teach your child to avoid the bully: Your child does not need to fight back. Encourage him or her to avoid the bully when possible. Suggest that he or she walk away, and go find a teacher or other trusted adult.
  4. Encourage your child to be assertive: It is not necessary to fight back to defeat a bully. You can teach your child to stand up straight and tell the bully, firmly, to leave him or her alone. In some cases, this type of assertiveness will work.
  5. Practice with your child: It might be beneficial to have a little bit of role play with your child. This way he or she can practice what to say to a bully, or how to leave a situation that could turn into bullying.
  6. Teach your child to move in groups: A good support system can be an effective deterrent against bullies. Have your child go to school and other places with trusted and true friends when dealing with bullying.”

Dealing with Bullying

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net