Friday, June 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Making the Internet Safer for Families and Children

Enough is Enough (visit for more information)

Tips on Talking to Your Child Openly and Honestly about Cyberbullying

What can parents do?

Tell your children they do not have to accept any online activity that is meant to intimidate, threaten, tease or harm them or anyone else. Giving bullies attention is exactly what they want, so ignore them as much as possible.

•Your children should never open, read or respond to messages from a cyberbully.
•Do not erase or delete messages from cyberbullies. Your children do not have to read the messages they receive from bullies, but they (or you) do need to keep messages as evidence. To report cyberbullying, it is really important to save as much info as you can. The more you save, the easier it will be to track down the people that are bothering your child. (Save the email, email address, date and time received, copies of all relevant emails, screenshots, etc.).
•Use software to block bullies if they encounter them through chat or IM and use privacy settings on social networking pages.

Encourage your children to talk to you if anybody says or does something online that makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. Stay calm and keep open lines of communication with your children. Make sure you or your children tell their school if the bullying is school related or involves another student. If you or your children are threatened with harm, contact your local police.

Watch out for warnings signs, such as reluctance to use the computer, a change in your child's behavior and mood, or reluctance to go to school.

Tell your children to guard their contact information. Children should assume that people will use the information on their profile to cause them harm. Tell your children that they should not put anything online that they wouldn't want their worst enemy to find out about. Remind your children that the people they befriend online have open access to all of their posted content and information and they can forward or use any of that information against them.

Remind your children that those who bully want to make their victims feel as if there is something wrong with them, but victims should know that there is nothing wrong with them; it is the bullies who have the real problem.

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