How Can We Protect Our Children From Cyberbullying?

– [Narrator] Our
children’s lives are now infused with technology. – A lot of people
are on social media, so I feel like I
have to be on it too. – [Narrator] And while
they’re plugged in, there’s the risk
of cyber-bullying. – What are some steps
that you could take? – And then I
started texting her. I’m like did your account
happen to get hacked into? – Cyber-bullying is an issue, and it’s something that we
have to stay vigilant about. – [Narrator] What can families
do to unplug their kids? – We just want to be able
to say okay, now is enough. – [Narrator] And how will
our schools in the future deal with cyber-bullying. – When things are being posted
online, they’re there 24/7. (dramatic music) – [Narrator] We can’t
ignore technology. – Especially in
this day and age, communication doesn’t
necessarily mean face to face, but
through text messaging, email, social media. – [Narrator] With
its help, schools, such as the Fort Osage
Career & Technology Center, can prepare students
for the future. – [Robot] You’re going
to see something cool. – Since my freshman
year, I was also a member of the first robotics team here. We’ve qualified for
world championships. – [Narrator] But
technology now has a role in the personal lives
of our children. – I usually just play with my
friends on like video games. – Sometimes I use this
app called TikTok. – Like messages and like photos. – And I play Madden, NBA 2K. – [Narrator] And as
technology has taken hold of so much of our kids’ lives, cyber-bullying has become
an issue for our schools. – How many of you
have already witnessed or experienced someone
using technology in a mean, cruel way? Raise your hand. Cyber-bullying is
essentially when someone is using technology as a
tool to harm another person. It’s something that
happens more than one time. – [Narrator] Since 2007, the
Lee’s Summit School District has partnered with non-profits,
Lee’s Summit Cares, and ReDiscover to educate
its kids on cyber-bullying. – So I got a text,
and she was like, there is a bunch of like
bad words in my bio. – So my friend, she was
compared to other people on social media. – Well, he sorta just broke
down and left the chat. – She’s was really upset
so I just called her and I talked her through it. – I really was hoping that
nothing, he didn’t do anything that would harm him or,
you know, run away maybe. I was just trying to make sure. – [Narrator] A recent
survey looked at US teens and found that
nearly 60% of them have experienced cyber-bullying, and it’s clearly an issue for
elementary schools, as well. – The concerning part
for teachers and parents is a lot of this conversation
the kids are having we’re not aware of. – [Narrator] So how can
schools in the future protect our children? – We talk about
personal responsibility. We also talk about
things that we need to do to protect others. – And I told them that
they should take it down. They did, and they ended up
apologizing to my friend. – [Narrator] School counselors
have a critical role to play. – So we do training
specifically on how to report. We have tools our
students can report online if they’re not comfortable
reporting to an adult in person. – [Narrator] And the school
district holds students accountable for cyber-bullying whenever or wherever it
happens if it impacts school. The schools
acknowledge, however, that they have to
rely on parents. – We most importantly, you know, it comes down to our parents. – And then we also are
available to assist parents to support them
with different apps that they can use at home. – [Narrator] Rebekah
and Ryan are parents of a sixth grade student. – We’ve seen him
be in a group chat with 20 other students,
and we don’t know half of those kids probably. – [Narrator] They let
him text his friends on condition that he lets them
try and monitor what’s said. – Some nights, there
will be hundreds of texts for us to have to sort
through and look through. – [Narrator] So they
turned to technology and an app called
Bark to help them. – We’ll get an email from Bark showing us a report of anything
that could be concerning. – [Narrator] But aside
from cyber-bullying, there is general concern
about the amount of time kids spend on devices. – It is a concern not
only for us as educators, but for parents, too. – Our screen time in
our house is limited to an hour and 45 minutes a day, and we monitor that with a
device called the Circle. – [Narrator] Too
much screen time can affect kids in
a variety of ways. – As students spend more
and more time online, our need to teach empathy, to help grow their
empathy has increased. – [Narrator] It’s another
argument in support of a type of learning we’ve
looked at before in this series, project-based learning. – The empathy
piece is critically
important for our kids in terms of being intentional with our instructional approach. Through project-based learning, getting our kids to collaborate,
connect with one another and also understand and
appreciate our differences. – [Narrator] Empathetic
children are also less likely to become cyber-bullies. For parents looking for guidance on how to protect their children in this new technological age, the American Academy
of Pediatrics provides a family media plan through
the website on the screen. – Our goal if to help
our kids understand that there’s a balance there and so you take the good
and you leave the bad and hopefully in
the midst of that, you end up a more
informed citizen and you’re able to contribute
something great to society. (suspenseful music) (students chatting) – [Student] Alright, when
they get done doing that, I’ll show you what.