Helpful Tips for Children and Teens Regarding Cyber Bullying

Stop Cyber BullyingChildren and teens that are received cyber bullying need to know and understand that hiding these problems will only make things worse. The bullying will become more escalated and intense as you let them be. Here are some tips that children, teens and parents can do when they are facing the cyber bullying:

Know that there are ALWAYS people available to help you that will make cyber bullies stop. These people are law enforcement; your school teacher, school counselor, principal; your parents or a nurturing, responsible adult.

Report this crime to the police. If possible, report it as it is happening.

If you are afraid to call the police, email a report of the incident(s) to cybercrime reporting sites such as: www.cybertipline.org, www.wiredsafety.net, www.KidSafe.com, or you can contact safety@worldkids.net.

Don’t give out any personal information such as your name, your school’s name or the name of any of the sports teams in which you play, your home telephone or cellular phone number, your address, including the city where your other parent lives if they are divorced, your parent’s office address, or the address of your school.

Don’t ever use your real name as your user or screen name.

Do not respond to the harassers directly because that is exactly what they want. Don’t give them the pleasure of knowing that you’re upset by it — Stay cool.

Save and print out all messages – DO NOT ERASE THE EMAILS.

If you know, take notes: State the name of the harassers, and all the details about the incident(s)

REMEMBER: YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR ONLINE EXPERIENCE. IT IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR YOU TO BE VERBALLY ABUSED OR THREATENED

If you want to BLOCK USERS from contacting you via email, do the following:

Look for the “Block” button. Sometimes it is in your Inbox. You block someone by highlighting or checking the box next to their email and then clicking on the Block button. When you do this, all the emails form the address you blocked will not go through to your Inbox.

Type in the persons email address in the box, or right click on the name of the person in your contact list.

Change your email address if you’re still getting messages from someone who is harassing you online, after you do the above.

 

It’s an unsettling thought for any parent to think that their child may be a victim of a Cyber Bully, or be one. As difficult as it may be to consider, parents and teachers alike need to talk about this subject at home and in the classroom. We need to raise awareness of this issue and be pro-active. At present, lawmakers are drafting laws to prevent and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes. Education, Vigilance, and strict laws are keys in disarming bullies.

Find out more about Cyber Bullying

Cyber BullyingCyber bullying takes what used to be schoolyard insults, pushing, and shoving to a whole new, expansive, and very dangerous level. The cyber bully uses email, chat rooms, instant messaging, cell phones and text messaging to insult, demean, threaten, humiliate, harass, deceive, impersonate, and in many cases, posts lewd or embarrassing photographs online of their peer – while hiding behind a veil of anonymity that the Internet provides.

On the middle school level, typical insults include comments like “U R ugly, U R fat, U R a liar, Nobody likes you”, however when kids reach 13, the comments are often sexual in nature, include profanity and detail true or untrue reports of promiscuity. Photos, which are sometimes altered, and video from cell phones are posted in emails and on familiar file sharing sites such as Myspace.com, Xanga.com, LiveJournal.com, Blogger.com, and others.

Even poor childish choices such as when a student puts up a website devoted to posting pictures of the ugliest or fattest kids in school, or when a 7th grade girl in Manhattan posted a video that a boy sent her of him serenading a song to her to her because he liked her and she didn’t like him back. It just seemed like a joke to her, that is, until it ended up being laughed at all over the Net. Needless to say, this young boy was devastated.

Unlike the schoolyard bully, these attacks aren’t by some scary kid wanting to push his weight around. They can be by anyone or no one that the child knows. Tragically, it’s sometimes by someone that the child thought was a friend. And unlike the schoolyard bully, a cyber bully can be comprised of one or many kids and by the time the posting hits the Net, literally thousands, if not millions of people have seen it, if it’s been shared around the world. And unlike the schoolyard bully, the cyber bully hits their victim in the sanctity of their own home or bedroom – where they feel that they can’t escape.

Often, kids are afraid to tell their parents for fear that their computer will be taken away or that their parents will make the situation worse. What they don’t realize is that unless the bullying stops immediately, it can escalate and leave permanent psychological scars.

Kids need to know how to navigate safely within this environment, so they’ll know how to prevent and protect themselves from these situations. Additionally, we make it very clear to children who might want to engage in this type of activity, that there are severe personal consequences to their behavior.

For example, we want them to consider “before” they make poor choices that whatever is posted on the Net is there forever, and as much as they may regret later that they did this to someone, the damage is done and irreversible.” Experts in the field state that victims of these crimes suffer psychological trauma requiring professional help, have had to move to other schools, their mental state has resulted in their grades dropping to such a degree that they cannot qualify for college upon high school graduation; many are afraid to form close relationships with new people; and in more severe cases, suicide or murder has resulted.

These are not just childhood pranks. These are serious crimes, and several states are enacting laws, such as Florida, making these emails felonies. In Pennsylvania, cyber bullying, harassment and stalking carry stiff jail sentences and fines for those convicted.

Cyber bullies need to realize that they may be able to hide from their victims behind screen names, but they cannot hide from law enforcement. Each time the Internet is accessed, an IP (Internet Protocol) address is established. The 12 numerals punctuated by the 3 periods is the electronic fingerprint that can be accessed by the authorities to trace all electronic communications between computers and/or mobile phones. No computer or mobile phone – or its user – is really anonymous in cyberspace.

According to a survey conducted in June of 2000 by The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on 1,500 children aged 10-17, 1 in 17 youths had been threatened or harassed over the Internet and about one-third of those found the incidents extremely distressing. A study in Britain in 2004 by NCH, a British children’s charity, found that 1 in 4 students had been bullied online.

The Internet and cell phones have become, in large part, the fabric of the social lives of tweens and teens. As such, they are prime targets for this kind of attack. The first thing kids need to understand about Instant Messaging, and blogs (web logs) or live journals, is that the more personal information you give someone, the more it can be used against you by not only those whom you wanted to read it, but by others whom you didn’t.

Whenever you type something online and press “send”, you have just given up your privacy. Additionally, people online will pose to be people they aren’t for purposes of deception and in many cases, to commit crimes – often stealing someone’s identity in the process.

Preventing Children Bad Behavior Before It Starts III

Preventing Children Bad BehaviorIn this final part we will discuss about the parent’s side themselves and their attention to their children.

Know yourself

In addition to being in tune with your child’s style; you need to be aware of what your particular needs are. It will always lead to trouble if you expect lots of peace and quiet after work, but your kids need your help with homework and a ride to soccer.

If you are tense and irritable, it will most certainly translate to misbehavior in your kids. Busy schedules rarely enable parents to have a peaceful dinner hour, but perhaps you can insist on twenty minutes to unwind in your room before you join the fray downstairs.

My mother made a rule that we couldn’t ask anything of her until she had changed into her jeans. That was our signal that she had decompressed after work and was ready to engage in the family hubbub.

Pay attention

Children often misbehave simply to get their parents’ attention. Though it confounds adults, children would rather be yelled at than be ignored. Perhaps it is Darwinian–in the wild, to be ignored by a parent meant that you weren’t safe.

Whatever its origin, this aspect of child-rearing can be very trying. Negative cycles can so easily begin by a child learning that acting up is the surest way to get a parent’s attention. The only way to avoid this is to lavish love and attention on your child when they are behaving well. Enjoy their company and play games with them.

Praise them with words and gestures often. Reward your child with special activities with you–not with toys and treats. If you sense that your children are acting up more than they should, then that is a sign that you need to stop waiting for your children to misbehave before you give them your attention. With all the love and attention from you that they need, there won’t be many reasons to misbehave!

 

This article was written by Katie Basson. Katie Basson is a parent, teacher, and creator of The BITs Kit Better Behavior Kit for Kids™. Katie teaches seminars on behavior modification techniques, and assists parents through challenging behavioral and educational issues. She serves on the Board of Directors of the YWCA and is an educational advisor to Zoesis, Inc., a children’s software company. Katie’s expert advice has been sought for articles in The Boston Globe and Parents Magazine.