The Cyberbullying Download

WITH KIDS, WITH ADVICE FOR PARENTS OF A CHILD WHO IS A TARGET OF CYBER BULLYING. HOW DO YOU KEEP KIDS CONNECTED TO THEIR FRIENDS WITHOUT UNPLUGGING? DOCTOR LEWIS FIRST HAS TIPS FOR PARENTS. Parents have been uploading lots of questions on line about cyber-bullying and how they can make sure their children and teens are not victims or aggressors of this behavior. So let me log on this week with some information on this topic. Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target others and is very common among children and teens. Studies suggest that 1/3 of older children and teens and 1/6 of preteens are victims of cyberbullying and as more kids have access to computers and cell phones, the incidence of this behavior is expected to rise. So what can parents do? you can at least watch for signs of cyberbullying by monitoring your child for evidence of emotional distress during or after being on the internet, withdrawal from friends or family members, avoidance of school or group gatherings, a change in school performance appetite and sleep patterns, a desire to stop using the computer or cell phone for unclear reasons, and not wanting to engage in conversation about cell phone or computer activities. Why don’t kids talk about their being cyber-bullied? Despite the bullying, kids still want to be connected to friends and are afraid the outcome of talking to parents will be to lose online privileges-so parents should not terminate privileges but should ask that together more careful monitoring strategies to combat cyber-bullying be in place. First talk with your child to share your concerns, and reassure your child that this is an issue with the bully and not with your child. -such as helping your child block the bully from your child’s online groups profiles, cellphone and email accounts which can certainly be done. Don’t automatically insist in calling the school-but take cues from your child as to what seems reasonable. Keep copies or printouts of the evidence if possible so these can be used in showing them to the bully’s parents, school employer or even the police and involve the school as needed. If your child is the bully, explain what this is doing to others if possible and then take consequences such as limiting use of computer or cell phone only when you are present or having your child talk with a counselor. Schools are also now taking action including suspending cyberbullies form school or removing them from desired activities like sports teams. Hopefully tips like this will provide all the data input you need to know what to do the next time you are concerned about your child and cyber -bullying. DO YOU HAVE A