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Parenting In Social Media Age- Keep Kids Safe Online (Guest Expert)

Friday, December 6th, 2019

technologysonParenting has changed drastically in the past decade. Instead of dinner bells ringing children home, they now have cell phones. Social media has become an obsession and a favorite past time. With the changes in technology, changes in parenting become necessary.

You can keep your child safe in the social media age with a few tips to help you stay up to speed with today’s technology and your child’s plugged-in world.

Learn the Technology

First and foremost, for parents to be able to help, it is important that they understand how technology works and accept that technology is a big part of young people’s lives, says Silje Vallestad, CEO and founder of Bipper, a mobile safety app company. As cyber bullying situations continue to increase, parents must know how to operate and monitor apps, social media networks and various technology to ensure that their children are acting appropriately and that they are treated respectfully in what is a 24/7 public environment.

“For kids today, being stripped of their access to the social communities and technology in general is considered so bad that they won’t ask for help or tell parents about negative experiences,” says Vallestad. “Parents need to understand that there is a difference between the digital childhood of kids today and their own upbringing, and that access to technology is as important as access to paper and pens.”

Although social media is extremely important to your child, it doesn’t mean they should have full reign of the technology. “Parents should never grant kids access to technology without guiding them in the world of technology and to be able to guide their kids, they need to understand technology and online services,” says Vallestad. “I believe in parents spending time educating themselves, combined with frequent conversations between parent and child about the use of technology in general and use of specific services in particular.”

Use Technology to Bond with Your Child

Monitoring your child’s social media use does not have to be a negative experience, wherein you are acting the part of a spy. Use technology as an opportunity to learn something new from your children and brush up on your own skills. Vallestad, the mother of three kids all using technology, says she uses mobile app alerts that provide information on which social media applications her children are downloading.

“When I see that they have installed apps I either don’t know much about or that I’m worried about (such as SnapChat or Instagram), I make a point of having a good conversation about these services,” she says. “They teach me a lot about technology and the services while we talk about how things can be used for good or bad.”

These conversations can help to create trust between a parent and a child and allow opportunities to talk about how technology can be used to harm others and how to react in those situations. “With our frequent talks on tech, where I show that I’m both interested and involved in their digital lives and also allow them to use technology, I believe we have fostered an atmosphere where they will feel safe to tell me if something bad is happening,” says Vallestad.

Have a Plan of Action

As you are learning the technology, it’s important to remember the top three actions to take when your child is engaged in social media, according to Vallestad.

  • Technology is Important to Your Child: Understand that your kids need to use technology and be part of the online communities where their peers are. It’s part of their lives and if you remove it, you will probably create a growing gap between you and your child instead of fostering an atmosphere of dialogue.
  • Open Conversations are Necessary: Engage in open and trusting conversations with your kids about technology. Let them tell you, show you and teach you. Reacting with anger or shock to things you might see could result in your kids closing down conversations. Try to stay calm and ask questions. Together, you can agree on rules. Sometimes you both may come to the conclusion that a particular service is not ok. Other times, it is ok but you may require that you will be a friend or follower.
  • Research is Key: Do your own research on services and use that research to ask your kids the right questions. However, don’t automatically assume that your kids are using a questionable service in a wrong way simply because there is a lot of information online about that service being used negatively. Do keep an open eye and make sure you are neither naïve nor ignorant about social media.

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Bullying Epidemic-What You & Your Children Need To Know (EXPERT)

Friday, November 8th, 2019

On September 9, 2013, following a year of verbal abuse and bullying, 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick decided that she couldn’t take it any longer. She messaged a friend about her intentions, changed her screen name to “That Dead Girl” and climbed the tower at an abandoned concrete plant and jumped. Her mother told the local newspaper, the Lakeland Ledger: “I never had a clue. I mean, she told me last year when she was being bullied, but not this year, and I have no idea why.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 64% of young people between the ages of 12 and 18 have been bullied. In Sedwick’s case, the bullying included verbal taunts, threats and even an incident of physical aggression. When Sedwick sought relief by enrolling in a different school, the bullies simply followed her online, taunting her via text messages and social media.


For as long as anyone can remember, the domain of the bully was a face-to-face encounter in the schoolyard. Today, while bullies might still meet up at school, much of the behavior has shifted to online media. This has changed the nature of the attack, since online abuse can feel relentless. Whenever the victim picks up a text message, reads a tweet or goes online to check a social media site, the bullying can resume. Worse, bullies can amass a huge following. One so-called “drama queen” actually had a following of more than 500 other children.

Online bullying is at epidemic proportions: Consumer Reports estimated that in 2011, 800,000 young people had been bullied on Facebook. If you are a parent or caregiver of a child, it’s time to get the facts so that you can teach your child what to do if he experiences face-to-face or cyber-bullies. The first step is to let them know exactly what a bully is and how to recognize bullying behavior.

What is bullying?

A bully is not someone who engages in a single incident of teasing or horseplay. According to Dan Olweus, bullying has three characteristics: 1) it is intentional behavior, 2) it is repeated over time, and 3) it is characterized by an imbalance of power in terms of physical strength or social status. Examples of bullying behavior include the following: when another student (or several students) insults, harasses, spreads lies or rumors about another child or threatens or physically assaults a peer.

What can you do to help prevent abuse?

When you talk about bullying with your child, make sure that he understands that no one should be the object of repeated teasing, name-calling or ridicule. Talk to him about how bullies target someone, and explain that a bully tries to isolate his victim. The best thing to do when you are being bullied is to get help. As the parent, you are your child’s best ally, but let him know there are many other allies he can turn to, including teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators. All of these adults are trained to intervene.

Of course, the best way to inoculate your child to bullying is to make sure he has healthy self-esteem. Let him know that he deserves respect. Tell him it is never his fault if he’s being bullied; it is always the fault of the bully. Children need help understanding that ignoring the problem usually makes it worse. If they are unable to stop a bully, get help. Bullies have power because they isolate their victims. If the victim gets help, then the bully loses all power. You have to confront a bully to make the abuse stop.

Parents of young children should start early, helping them learn and practice basic assertiveness skills. If someone takes something of your child’s or violates his personal space, teach him to say “no” or “stop doing that.” Children should know that they can set boundaries with their peers.

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, “Children who express their feelings and needs while respecting those of others will be neither victims nor aggressors.” Help your child identify their feelings and express them through “I” statements. Teach him that he can confront someone who is being controlling or abusive. For instance, “I feel hurt when you take my toy, and I want you to give it back.”

Be cyber savvy!

One of the most important things you can teach your child is to be Internet savvy. Although some bullying starts with a face-to-face conflict, plenty of bullying today begins with incidents of so-called “over-sharing” on social media. Talk to your children about the risks and dangers of sharing personal statements online.

schooladvises parents to ask their children if they think their posts are automatically private. If they say yes, then they need to think again. Even if you set your account to private, it just takes one friend making a screenshot and sending it out to everyone else for your privacy to be gone. Once that happens, you can never get those statements back.

Here’s another mistake: teens often think that their friends will keep their online secrets. Englander has researched this topic extensively. Not only do they not keep secrets well, they are not even thinking about their friends when they break their confidence. Teens gossip to gain status with other teens. It may be shortsighted and impulsive, but it’s also typical teen behavior. Make sure your teen knows that this happens all the time.

And finally, here are two more excellent tips:

• Set a Google alert to your child’s name. If there is any negative material (or any bullying) that pops up online, you’ll be among the first to know.
• Keep up-to-date on the latest apps and sites. It almost goes without saying, but if you don’t understand the technology, there is very little you can do to protect your child.

How can you recognize if your child is being victimized?

Too often parents assume that that their child will tell them if there is a problem when, actually, there is ample evidence to suggest the opposite. Very few children disclose bullying. According to a 2008-2009 School Crime Supplement, two-thirds of the time teens are bullied they never report an incident to anyone, including their parents. This means you need to be watchful. Ask questions of your child and make sure you are looking for problems. Symptoms of possible bullying include the following:

• Your child comes home missing items (books, electronics, etc.).
• Your child avoids school, does not want to attend classes or is unwilling to take the bus. Often these children will use excuses to avoid school (complaints of a stomachache or sickness).
• He appears injured (cuts and bruises).
• He has few, if any, friends (socially isolated).
• He has trouble in school, appears disinterested and/or receives poor grades.
• He appears sad or depressed when he comes home.
• He has trouble sleeping or suffers from bad dreams.
• He appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem.

If your child displays any of these symptoms, talk to him and get help. Reach out to school administrators and work with them to help your child. Find a therapist for your child to talk to. If it appears that he is being victimized, consider taking away his cell phone and limiting his social media use. He may not be able to handle the pressure he’s receiving from peers.

How can you tell if your child is bullying others?

Of course, it is just as important to recognize if your child is the bully. Bullies (especially online ones) may look strong and competent, but in reality they also suffer from depression and low self-esteem. Here are some warning signs that might alert you if your child is the bully:

• He’s confrontational and prone to physical or verbal fights.
• His friends are known as bullies.
• He’s known among siblings as a bully or aggressor.
• He has discipline problems at school.
• He doesn’t act empathetically towards their peers.
• He’s excessively worried about popularity, looks and/or reputation.
• When he does get into trouble, he doesn’t take responsibility for his actions.

If your child displays these behaviors, get help. There is every reason to worry as much about a bully as those that are bullied. Take these symptoms seriously and involve professional help.

Moving forward

One final piece of advice: the best way to teach your child anything is to model the behavior yourself. Demonstrate tolerance to your children, show them that you respect others and let them know you are willing to listen. If you see bullying, step in and set a limit. Let your children know what you did and why. Over time, you’ll learn together how to combat bullying, avoiding tragic fates that plague so many other kids.

This guestpost was supplied by

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Friday, October 18th, 2019 and Lesser Known Social Media Portals – Cyber Bullying Havens

Image Courtesy of

Parents of young adults, take heed. Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only places where your kids might be bullied. There exist thousands of other online avenues where people hide under the guise of ‘freedom of speech’ to say inappropriate and terrible things to your children. Take for example


“Wait a minute. Why are you still alive?”

This is just one of the questions posted on the page of 12-year old Rebecca Sedwick, who killed herself last month by jumping from an abandoned cement building in Lakeland, Florida. Other questions included similarly horrible queries within the lines of “Why aren’t you dead?” and even non-questions “Drink bleach and die.” is a social media site where users receive questions from anonymous people. According to LA Times report, millions of teenagers in the United States use this website to talk about late night parties, school work, and others subjects without parental supervision. Sedwick was tormented by about 15 girls her age on, among other lesser known social media portals.

The easily accessible technology of social media apps and virtually limitless internet connectivity gave way to an environment that thrives on anonymity. “These apps are free, and as a result … you can either go up anonymously or create a fictitious identification, and you can torment other children, and it is frightening to see that occur,” noted Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.


“Yes ik  I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don’t give a f***]”

This was the exact status message of Guadalupe Shaw, 14 years old, after reports of Rebecca Sedwick committing suicide spread. “She needs more than God, she is disgusting,” said the first comment in Shaw’s status.

Police saw this message as a red flag. Along with 12-year old Katelyn Roman, county police arrested Shaw despite planning to delay any detainments due to the nature of the case and the age of the involved individuals. Sheriff Judd said that Roman and Shaw were the primary harassers.

When asked about the legality of the arrest and the case to be filed against the youngsters, Judd mentioned that although bullying in itself is not a crime, it can be grounds for stalking and aggravated stalking.

“We take bullying and cyber bullying exceptionally serious in this county and always have,” said Judd.


“Choose your words carefully.”

This was the advice that most experts in behavioral psychology want parents to instill to their children when dealing with cyber bullying. Because children grew up with technology that was not available back when their parents were growing up, research and coaching are imperative for parents to address the issue. These concepts were said by Dr. Elizabeth Englander from the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center on an instructional video found on VerizonWireless’s feature on a familial approach to address cyber bullying.

Part of this research involves being familiar with social networking sites that are overlooked such as the aforementioned, Kik (a smartphone messaging app), and SnapChat.

SnapChat is particularly controversial. Commonly used by adults to hook up by sending ‘pic trading’ or exchanging photos; this app has been the center of the social phenomenon called ‘sexting’. “The biggest part of these sites is parents don’t know about them,” said author of “Wit’s End: Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out of Control Teen” Sue Scheff.

The lack of initiative from parents to get involved with their children’s internet and social media actions create a difficult situation where harassment is only detected when it’s already too late, Scheff said. “It’s as simple as that. No one really knew a lot about until Rebecca died,” she noted.

Resources are always available online for parents to get the basic concepts of social media. How will you deal with it, if your child experiences cyber bullying?


Dennis Redley is an advocate of responsible internet usage. He supports various cyber safety initiatives including Verizon’s online safety campaign and Higher EdTech Asia. He is also an aspiring educator and takes part in counseling students.


What Is Cyber Bullying & Helping The Bystander To Bullying

Friday, October 11th, 2019

What is Cyber Bullying?

According to, cyber bullying is bullying that happens using the internet or electronic technology. Just like regular bullying, cyber bullying involves an aggressive act performed by a person that has (or that is perceived to have) more power toward a person that has (or that is perceived to have) less power. Bullying is repetitive and purposeful. It can include name calling, threats to cause harm and spreading rumors.

What Are Schools Doing to Prevent Bullying?

Nearly all schools take some measure to educate students about bullying and to prevent them from bullying their peers. Teachers talk about bullying in students’ health classes. Schools hold special programs and assemblies to educate students about the importance of not bullying. It all goes to enforce to students that bullying is wrong, hurtful and unacceptable. But if students know these things, why does it still happen?

Despite all the education that students receive about bullying, bullying still exists both at school and online. While anti-bullying measures demonstrate the school’s best intentions, The Total Bully Solution points out that too often school’s best efforts frequently don’t work. There are several reasons why people continue to bully when they know it is wrong. There are also several reasons why other students witnessing the bullying do not put a stop to it.

What is the Bystander Effect?

The bystander effect is what happens when people do not step in to help when they see another person being bullied or being placed in some type of danger. Named after the infamous stabbing of Kitty Genovese in 1964, the term “the bystander effect” refers to the tendency of people to not help in an emergency situation when other people are present.

According to social experiments done by Bibb Latané and John Darley, if one person witnesses an emergency situation where someone needs assistance, they are likely to help. They feel responsible for helping because they know if they do not help, no one else is around to do so.


Something strange happens when a group of people watch an emergency take place, however. Instead of rushing to help, people look at those around them to gauge their reactions. If no one else reacts, people rationalize not helping by saying that it is socially acceptable to not help or that someone else will help. They do not feel so responsible.

How Does the Bystander Effect Affect People who Witness Cyber Bullying?

People who witness cyber bullying online know that they are not the only people to see it. They feel removed from the situation and they figure that because so many people see the bullying taking place, they are not personally responsible for doing something to stop it. As a result, cyber bullies are able to continually harass their victims with no repercussions because no one intervenes. While it would be helpful if internet service providers were able to monitor online bullying, the best bully prevention techniques start at home.

How Can People Overcome the Bystander Effect?

The best way to overcome the bystander effect is to educate people about it. If people realize that they are in a large group of people who are not likely to help, they will be motivated to be the person that does help.


Nikki Longo is a writer based off the east coast. When she’s not writing at the desk that overlooks the beautiful tree in her backyard she can be found playing with her dogs or cooking up a new recipe. Feel free to reach out to her at

How To Protect Your Child From Cyber Bullying Using Mobile Monitoring Applications?

Monday, August 20th, 2012

How To Protect Your Child From Cyber Bullying Using Mobile Monitoring Applications?

Mobile usage is increasing day by day and it has become an indispensable device. The additional uses of a mobile phone as a camera, a music player, a laptop to access mails and internet has resulted in its widespread usage. Children too have not been spared from being bitten by the mobile phone bug. The benefits are far surpassed by the crimes associated with children using mobile phones.

Cyber bullying is rampant in the cyber world.

Children unknowingly fall victims to such abuse through visiting prohibited sites and social networking sites. There have been many instances where children were lured through answering missed calls from unknown numbers and subjected to sexual harassment.

Hence, it is important for parents to protect their children from becoming victims of cyber abuse. This can be achieved by installing mobile monitoring applications like Mobile Spy on your child’s phone.

Software easy to install to protect your child

It is very easy to install such software on your child’s phone. Once installed, the data from the mobile phone is uploaded to your user account, which is created at the time of purchasing the monitoring application. All activities of the phone can then be viewed remotely through the user account. Some of the monitoring application features that help to protect your child from cyber abuse are:

Text bullying is a concern for many kids and their parents. Learn to monitor electronic devices your kids use and facts about internet safety.

  • Monitoring the call history: The monitoring application records details of all incoming and outgoing calls. The time and duration along with the numbers are also recorded. By reviewing the call log, the parent can know the child’s contacts, whether they are good or bad.
  • Call recording: most of the monitoring applications have the call recording facility whereby you can actually listen to the conversation. Even if the child is scared to report the abuse, it is easy to track the caller and nail him with proof of the conversation.
  • Internet History: A record of all the websites visited by the child can be known. The entire web history is recorded even if the child erases the history on the mobile. It is thus possible to know if the child has viewed any inappropriate material.
  • Record of chats and IM messages: With the help of the monitoring spyware, you can view the full contents of the chat windows and SMS messages. By keeping a tab on chats, it is easy to monitor contacts with strangers who may turn out to be pedophiles.
  • E mail log: A detail of every email that has been sent or received through the target mobile phone is recorded, despite the child deleting the messages. You can monitor the child and his contact by reviewing the mail contents.
  • GPS tracking: With this device, it is easy to locate your child. In the unfortunate event of kidnapping or the child getting lost, the GPS device will come to the rescue.
  • Video and Picture log: A parent can view all the photos and videos on the child’s phone. There may be instances when the child may be blackmailed through pornographic content like nude photos or bathroom videos. The abuser would demand undue favors from the child by threatening to expose them on the web. Any child would be scared to report such abuse and give in to the demands. Installation of the software protects the child by exposing such criminals.

This is a guest post from my friend and colleague Sharon Stouffer.  She shares my concerns about finding help for children who are being cyber-bullied.   Her contact information is below.  Please be sure to claim your free report on resources for parents and teachers.  You will find it at

Sharon Stouffer is passionate about Mobile Technology and Applications. Please visit her website about Cell Phone Spy software to follow her updates.

Texting on Cell Phones Main Line of Communication For Teens

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Texting and Instant Messaging Can Hurt Children

Schools deal with the issue of harassment through text messaging and online instant messaging every day.

Cell phones and texting is the primary form of communication with teens. Families need to learn about internet safety and cyberbullying online.

But, many adults do not realize just how often children are being bullied online or through texting.

Often too afraid to tell their parents, children try to deal the problem of cyberbullying themselves. They often only getting their parents involved when the situation gets out of control and the child is helpless to do anything about it alone.

Texting is Main Source of Communication

Teachers and parents agree that texting-whether the act of sending one or the anticipation of receiving one- distracts tweens and teens.  Most schools prohibit cell phones in the classrooms, but teens are very adept at getting around the system.

A 2008 Harris Interactive study found that nearly half of kids-42% could text even when blindfolded.

Tactics of the Cyberbully

Bullying, threats and intimidation, harassment and causing embarrassment of another are all tactics of today’s cyber bully.

This growing problem uses interactive technology such as cell phones, chat rooms and online instant messaging in an effort to harass, embarrass or otherwise victimize another person.

The motivation of the cyberbully is widely varied. Often schools are powerless to help as much of the bullying takes place off school grounds.

Why do Children Become Cyberbullies

The reasons children cyberbully each other are many. Sometimes children are holding a grudge against their victim, or want to emotionally hurt another. Sometimes they act out of boredom as a child seeks a new form of entertainment. Sometimes kids fight back against being bullied by becoming bullies themselves.

How to Combat Cyberbullying

At this juncture law enforcement around much of the world is ill equipped to deal with cases of cyber harassment. Right now most laws only apply to cyber threats such as hacking or death threats.

Often the only recourse for cyber harassment victims is to report the problem to their Internet Service Provider. In most cases cyberbullying is only considered a breach of the terms and conditions of the ISP and the only recourse is to suspend or cut off the bully’s internet access.

This usually only stops the bullying for a short time while the cyberbully sets up a new account, or finds access elsewhere.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What would I do if I found my child was being victimized by a cyber bully?
  • Do I know the signs that my child may be being harassed by a cyber bully?
  • Could I tell if my child might be bullying someone else online? How would I deal with it?

Bully Advocate

  • We empower the bully to gain empathy and learn new ways of communication
  • We empower the bystander to get involved and diffuse the confrontation
  • We empower the victim to be courageous and set boundaries
  • We empower the group, school, family or community to adopt a no-bully, respect for all policy

Follow us on FaceBook at Judy Helm Wright or on

You will be glad you did.

Cell Phone Texting – Dangers of Cyberbullying

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

The Dangers Of Cell Phone Texting

In today’s modern world, children are starting to use technology earlier and earlier. There are very  few eight year olds who do not know how to send an email, check a profile on FaceBook, or send a text message. They are often teaching the adults in their lives how to text messages.

Before the wide use of cell phones, bullying typically began to escalate around the third grade, peaking by about eighth grade and tapering off in high school.  Those of us who do research and interviews on this subject, find it now starts earlier and lasts much longer.

Cell phone texting and online messages make it easier to cyberbully. Parents need to learn how to deal with this issue.

Cell Phones and Cyberbully

The combination of cyberspace, availability of cell phone and the internet and vulnerable children can be a recipe for disaster. Cell phone texting is one of the things that cyber bullies are using to harm those who they dislike or want to humiliate.

Cyberbullying may carry cruelty to new extremes. Because of the immediacy of cell phones teens who are in a bad mood may post a message they later regret.

There are those who use the cell phone as a weapon to taunt, tease and torture others.  Blasting is a phrase that has been used to describe a “blast” of private information posted online and passed around to a large group of followers.

Sexual Predators Are Looking For Victims

Bullies and sexual predators are taking advantage of these venues to target the younger generation. Everyone knows that young people are very adept at texting.

And while at one time words and fists were used to threaten those that were disliked, now bullies are turning to cell phones and computers as their secret weapons. And these are more effective at causing harm and humiliation than anyone ever dreamed of.

Adults Need  To Learn About The Dangers

One of the scariest things about cyber bullying is that it is hard for parents or other authorities to see or recognize. While a threatening scene in the school hall or cafeteria could have been visible to many, threatening texts are personal and only seen by the person to whom they are sent.

They may leave a child or teen frightened, vulnerable and emotionally scarred.

Empower Youth To Hit Delete

Experts say that most teenagers will not admit to receiving unfriendly or threatening texts because of fear and pride.

They do not want mommy coming to school to back them up; that would be embarrassing and make them more prone to humiliation. And perhaps they are afraid of being hurt if they tell someone.

More young people carry cell phones than ever before, and concern over text messaging safety is becoming more important. There are a few guidelines that should be followed to help keep teenagers safe.

Talk Often To Teens

They should never text personal information such as address, full name, or any other information or pictures that could lead a predator to them. Parents should also make sure that they talk to their children regularly about cyber bullying.

And if a situation becomes serious or threatening messages are sent, the authorities should be notified.

The more open the lines of communication between generations of caring adults, the more likely they are to report any issues.

You can do it, I have confidence in you.

Bystander Bully Assistance – Help Through A Traumatic CyberBullying Situation

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

How Bystander Bully Assistance Can Help You Through A Traumatic CyberBullying Situation

If you are the victim of cyber bullying you are not alone. As the prevalence of internet use increases among all age groups there is a greater need for better restrictions and assistance on how both youth and adults communicate online.

Being the target of malicious attacks is a difficult and embarrassing event for anyone. Enlisting the right bystander bully assistance can help educate you and your young one on how to respond when personal attacks are made online.

Targeted Threats

Numerous reports of individuals being overwhelmed by “mean speak”; threats and suicide encouragement have been presented by the news media.  Phoebe Prince from MA is an example of a teen who felt she had no one to turn to for help.

There has been for a long time no real protocol in dealing with these attacks. Schools, churches and organizations are caught in the bind of not knowing who is responsible. The public onslaughts of vicious speak have left many feeling as though there is no way out.

Internet Safety

Teach teens that cybrbullying is a crime. Help them resist the urge to pass along hurtful messages. Learn internet safety.

Having to deal with nasty e-mails, death threat and pranks can be overwhelming, especially if the victim is young, which the case is most often. Many young people are not aware of the consequences that a posted message can have.

Often the response to an unpopular statement or opinion can become terrifying when meted out by the wrong group. It is not like bullying in the old days when your enemy was right in front of you and you could fight it out or tell the principal.

Nowadays, cyberbullying is very anonymous and the venom is passed from cell phone to computer to FaceBook to MySpace and can be global almost instantly.

Teach Teens To Not Pass On Gossip Online

While adults have a better understanding of the resources that may be available to help them deal with a tumultuous situation online, teenagers often do not.

They generally tend to weather the storm alone hoping that it will subside by itself. Unfortunately due to ease of access, these situations generally continue to spiral out of control if unchecked until an awful climax is reached.

Words Have Power for Good and Bad

Teaching your children smart internet skills is one way to avoid the hassle. Make certain that they understand the effects that different forms of online communication have on their privacy.  Help them to pause and think before sending on a message that might hurt or embarrass another.

As a family discussion continue to share with them the less than stellar responses received by teenagers that share too much information. It is also imperative to keep the lines of communication open in order to ensure that your child is not quietly suffering as a victim.

Help them to brainstorm ideas of being brave enough to stand up for someone being cyberbullied or to refuse to pass on hurtful messages. Just one person being kind can make a huge difference in the lives of others.

When they are aware of the consequences of bullying, it is far less likely that they will have to endure or become a part of it in any way.

Questions to ponder

  1. Have you ever had someone say something mean about you and played like it didn’t matter?
  2. Do you know it is against the law in many areas to harass or threaten someone online?
  3. If a friend were being cyberbullied, could you help them?  How?
  4. Do you know where to find information on internet safety?

Cyber-Bullying Gets Out of Control

Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Out of control is the only way to describe a recent case of cyber-bullying hitting the national news wires. Eleven year-old Jessie Slaughter (her screen name, not her real name) was recently hospitalized in a mental health facility after her case of cyber-bullying got out of control. Jessie had posted an explicit and profanity laden response to suggestions about her sexual history. Shortly after the video was posted she began receiving nasty e-mails, pranks, posts and even death threats.

Her father then added fuel to the already burgeoning fire when he posted a tirade on YouTube threaten those who were engaged in the battle against his daughter, offering them up to the authorities. The video also shows a sobbing Jessie in the foreground. This new post took the cyber-bullying to a whole new level bordering on the verge of cyber-stalking.
Recently when their story was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America experts offered up just a few of the actions we can take to prevent these incidents from happening to our children in the future. Parent need to learn how to respond properly to these kinds of acts, and teach their kids what to do if something like this is happening to them.
Children require a few basic rules in dealing with Cyber-bullies. Firstly, they need to stop what they are doing, and not respond to threatening e-mails or posts. By blocking the person or message it will stop any more nasty threats from coming from that person or e-mail address. They also need to tell a trusted adult what is happening.
One suggestion experts have for adults who are helping a child deal with cyber-bullies is to suggest the child put down the mouse and walk away from the computer. This few minutes of doing something  else will help them regain balance and perspective. Remember, to look at the situation and recognize the options.
This is not the time to respond in anger.
If the situation that happened with Jessie had happened in a schoolyard, and not on the internet it likely would not have blown up like it did. By posting these videos to the internet the victim lost her privacy, (the video had more than a million hits), while the bullies were able to remain anonymous.
A few simple ways to prevent these kind of incidents from happen with your children include: setting up a net nanny on your computer to be able to monitor your child’s internet activities. Also, be sure to supervise your children when they are on the internet and if you can not monitor them consistently, be sure to check their internet history. Lastly, be sure to report threatening posts to the internet site where they are posted as well as to law enforcement.

6 Types of Aggressive Bullies- Are You a Victim?

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Recognizing the Six Types of Aggressive Bullies:

Are You a Victim?

Bullying can be described as aggressive behaviour that is intentional and involves an imbalance of power or strength. Often patterns of abusive behaviour becomes evident over time. Victims or targets sometimes downplay the violence and damage to their self esteem, hoping it will just go away or at least get better with time. Bullying and aggressive action rarely stop without some sort of intervention.

Bullying is not strictly a behaviour of the young and not all bullying involves fighting.

Bullying, in all forms, is an attempt to steal power from someone else thus empowering the bully. There is no single reason why some people attempt to take advantage of others, but those who intimidate and manipulate often use aggressive tactics.

There doesn’t appear to be a single type of person become the target of bullies or the victims of their aggressive attacks. However, you may want to check out the six types of bullies and their methods of intimidation to see if you can recognize when and if you have been the victim of a bully.

The following are the most common traits of bullies:

The Physical Bully

  • hits, kicks, pushes, spits, and/or intimidates
  • steals possessions
  • forces others do things they don’t want to do themselves

The Verbal Bully

  • engages in name calling, humiliating, teasing, and insulting
  • uses sarcasm and pointed jokes to point out flaws in their targets personality
  • makes degrading comments about victims dress or appearance

The Non-Verbal Bully

  • mimics physical activity and/or disabilities of others
  • makes offensive gestures and facial expressions
  • turns their head or body away when victim is speaking (giving the cold shoulder)
  • uses threatening body language (such as standing in the victims personal space, and using postures that make the themselves look physically larger than their victim)

The Social Bully

  • refuses to talk or acknowledge their victim
  • spreads rumours or innuendoes about others
  • makes someone behave or dress in a manner that bully determines
  • invites others to an event or party in front of victim, while excluding the victim
  • talks directly to the victim about a social event they have been excluded from

The Sexual Bully

  • engages in unwanted physical contact
  • makes vulgar remarks and gestures toward others
  • calls others by sexual names or remarking on sexual orientation
  • takes photos or videos of their victim in a compromising situation and threatens to share it
  • manipulates situations to gain sexual favours

The Cyber-Bully or Technological Bully

  • sends mean, vulgar or threatening messages using cell phones or through text and instant messaging
  • texts private messages to others not sent directly to (the victim????)
  • sends photos or sexually suggestive photos without permission.
  • pretends to be someone else to make their victim look bad
  • intentionally excludes someone from an online group
  • posts derogatory or inflammatory messages on social media sites (ie: Facebook, Youtube, and MySpace)
  • impersonates people through instant messaging to gain information or humiliate

Hold Bullies Accountable

While researching my latest book on cyber-bullying, I have found bullies almost never stop their aggressive and abusive behavior without intervention.

Bullies DO NOT stop bullying; they just get bigger and more devious in their approach.

Empower Yourself

If you recognize that you have been bullied in the past, empower yourself now. Set boundaries and become more assertive in your interpersonal relationships. Claim your free eBook on learning to speak up and say what you want.  Find it at You will be glad you did.

You can do it, I have confidence in you.