I'm talking to parents of young kids and my message is this:
WAKE UP people and educate yourselves in all things technology related. Or at least as much as you possibly can. And then some. Else your kids are going to get away with EVERYTHING.
Don't have the time? Aren't really worried about it?
Go ahead and keep those blinders on. Go ahead and tell yourself that your kid would NEVER do anything like that. Really? Not even in an attempt to defend a friend? Didn't think of that, did you?
Go ahead and keep those blinders on. Go ahead and let yourself believe that no one would ever do anything of a bully nature to your kid. HOW do you know this? Do you have control over other people's kids? I didn't think so.
Do you trust the parents of your kids just because those parents also happen to be YOUR friends? Well don't. Because they probably aren't worried about their kid EVER doing something like THAT to anyone.
Do you really care more about being THAT parent who never tells their kid, "No" more than about whether or not he/she is being cyber-bullied or committing the act themselves?
Did you know that:
- While your child's school may have taken protective measures with the technology located within the school itself, they have NO CONTROL over what your kids are doing at home or out in the neighborhood.
- Anyone AT ALL can set up an Instagram account? VERY easy for a 40 year old perve to set up a fake account and prey on YOUR child.
- If there's a way around anything internet centered, your kids will find it.
- Chances are, if your kid is being cyber-bullied, he/she will not tell you.
- Most kids believe that it's easier to get away with bullying online than in person.
- Over half of the kids out there have seen cyber-bullying and never spoken up.
- Kids who are bullied feel different, powerless, unpopular, alone, sad, lonely, nervous, have a hard time standing up for themselves, have trouble in school.
- Kids who bully often grow up to abuse alcohol or drugs; get into fights; drop out of school.
- Discuss the concept of cyber-bullying with your kids, making sure they know to come to you or another TRUSTED adult should they be the victim of cyber-bullying or know of it going on with a friend.
- Make sure they know to tell you even if they are unsure that it IS cyber-bullying so that you can make that decision.
- Check with your child's school to see what they are doing to educate students about cyber-bullying.
- Educate yourself about cyber-bullying.
- Pay attention to your kids- there are tell-tale signs.
- Make sure your kids know that, if they can't or don't want to come to you, they go to another trusted adult.
The fact is, bullying is not new. But, what is new, is using digital technology with which to bully someone. And it's starting at younger and younger ages.
Cyber bullying is sending or posting harmful or mean messages, images or videos about someone else via cell phones, the internet and other digital means usually repeatedly. It can happen any time at home or at school and is very public.
Most kids will choose cyber-bullying because it's easier and they can hide behind a screen name. Anonymity makes them feel bolder than usual. It even makes it easy for a kid who normally would NEVER say anything like that to someone face to face.
Elementary students might cyber-bully because kids feel the need to exert power over other people who they see as weaker or inferior in some way. They may want to copy their friends or think that this will help them to fit in better. Sometimes they just feel that they are better than the kid they are bullying. Anyone with access to a computer or other form of digital technology can use it to take a swipe at someone they don't like.
Younger kids might do it to get attention or because they think it will make them popular or they want to look tough to make others afraid of them.
Because it happens online, it's easily missed by parents and teachers. Cyber-bullying is on the rise with younger kids. They are just beginning to use digital forms of communication and experimenting with ways to test people's reactions to what they do.
I hope that I have come off strong and serious here y'all. This is NOT something to put off.
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