Archive for February, 2012
Technology dominates our everyday lives. It’s with us from the time we go to bed at night to the moment we wake, from cell phones to the internet where blogs, social networking and instant messaging are ‘on’ 24/7.
These advances in technology allow immediate access to information and the likelihood of your child being bullied significantly increases.
Cyber-bullying is the act of using the internet or other technology to send or post text images that are intended to intimate, harass or threaten another individual – usually between peers who go to the same school or live in the same neighborhood.
This type of communication has opened new doors for predators to cross. Statistics show that one million children have been cyber-bullied on social network sites alone according to a consumer report survey conducted in the US in early 2011.
Constant cyber-bullying can cause the victim to have an inability to focus on academics, low self esteem, anxiety, depression or even to commit suicide. The more frequent and severe the cyber-bullying, the greater the social impact on the victim putting them at risk of engaging in deviant or delinquent behaviors.
It is critical that parents, teachers and counselors educate themselves on intervention strategies and resources available to prevent and address cyber-bulling.
Cyber-bullying, The Truth Behind the Shocking New Internet Trends by Jacob Andersen, the founder of KidsEmail.org, addresses this need. The book provides the reader with effective strategies, safety measures, tools and resources and is now available for download on Amazon.
* Gives real-life examples of kids that are targets of cyber attacks.
* Addresses sexting, sexual soliciting, cyberbullying, and other forms of Internet danger
* Provides up-to-date data on the latest shocking Internet trends
* Contains quick references for kids, parents, and educators for both preventing and addressing cyberbullying and other Internet dangers.
It’s our responsibility as a society to look out for the social and psychological well-being of our children.
End bullying by empowering yourself with knowledge and be sure to read Cyberbulling, The Truth Behind the Shocking New Internet Trends.
Add comment February 28, 2012
Street bullying occurs when a child or group of children intentionally harm another using verbal threats, intimidation, and/or physical violence such as hitting, biting or kicking. Street bullying often begins in early childhood: think of the youngster who stakes claim to the sandbox and all its contents using aggressive behavior to keep others out.
As the bully grows up he/she continues to claim a stake in preschool, on the middle school playground and eventually in high school. Each day an estimated 160,000 students in the United States refuse to go to school because they fear the physical and verbal aggression of their peers. 30% of these students are 17 years and younger who are victims of street bullying, cyber-bullying or repeated harm through other electronic devices. It’s been reported that 6 out of 10 American youth witness bullying at least once a day.
Although cyber-bullying is virtual, it can have the same crippling effects on the victim as street bullying: low self esteem, depression, failing grades, suicide and destructive acts of violence. Bullies see the anonymity of online conversation as the perfect cyber turf to use verbal weapons when their identity is masked and protected by the screen. However cyber-bullying is not a technology problem but rather a social and educational problem involving youth and the improper use of online technology.
The following are helpful resources if you know or suspect someone who is being bullied:
- 911: If you or a child is at immediate risk of harm because of bullying, call the police.
- Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK (8255): If a child/teenager is feeling suicidal because of bullying, contact the suicide prevention hotline.
- School Administration: Anti-bullying programs have been instituted throughout many school systems. Talk to the school administration (principal or superintendent).
- Counselor or Health professional: If the individual who is being bullied is having emotional problems, contact a counselor or other health professional.
- The U.S. Department of Education: If a child is bullied because of their race, ethnicity or disability, contact the U.S Department of Education Office on Civil Rights – http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html
How do you and your children deal with cyberbullying?
Add comment February 22, 2012
Kids & The Internet: The Benefits
Today’s iGeneration (teens and middle-schoolers) are internet savvy thanks to the existence of online gaming sites, virtual worlds, forums, message boards, online communities and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Kidssocialnetwork, Club Penguin, Moshi Monsters, Togetherville and Everloop.
While access to these sites is often through a desktop computer or a laptop, mobile devices represent a large part of the social media movement with teens representing 19% of the 12.3 million active social networkers. 75% of teens now own cell phones: 25% use them for social media, 54% use them for texting and 24% use them for instant messaging.
According to a Common Sense Media poll from August 2009, 22% of teenagers log on to their favorite social media site more than 10 times a day and more than half of tweens log on to a social media site more than once a day. In a study by the National School Boards Association, 60% of kids surveyed reported that some of the most popular social networking topics were college planning, learning, careers, and schoolwork.
While there are risks in being online, there are also many potential benefits:
- Social Connections: Social networking is today’s version of hanging out but rather than taking place at a friend’s house or at the mall, it happens online. Social networking provides opportunities to develop new relationships and strengthen existing ones. For the shy child, participation in online conversations can help boost their confidence especially for those who don’t quite ‘fit in’ at school.
- Skills: Being online offers the opportunity for a child to develop technical skills (posting to blogs, uploading photos and video) and media literacy through exposure to different types of online media.
- Creativity: Exposure to the online world can encourage the growth of ideas through reading blogs, watching videos or listening to podcasts. This reinforces the value of exchanging ideas and helps the child with written expression and language skills.
- Cultures: The world is smaller than ever and young people who spend time online have the opportunity to learn the nuances of other cultures and gain perspective through interaction with those whose background is different than their own.
- Education: The internet is frequently used to supplement the education provided in the classroom, extending it outside the child’s immediate surroundings. Online interaction often replaces traditional learning methods by connecting students with peers on homework or group projects.
Internet and social networking websites have the potential to improve your child’s knowledge and skills and help them maintain on-going communication with friends and family.
1 comment February 14, 2012
Exposure to offensive content, violent images, racist or hate material, contact with pedophiles and cyber-bullying are a few of the potential risks for children if their internet use is not monitored.
Who is pulling a tight leash when it comes to monitoring the topics that kids are exposed to while surfing the internet? According to Media Marketing Research in 2006, mothers are the primary gatekeepers for children between the ages of 6 – 11 when it comes to the use of the internet. A child’s best online protection is their parent or guardian. Acting as the gatekeeper they can use internet safety tools to limit access to content, websites and activities.
To be actively involved, follow the internet guidelines below:
- Use Internet filtering and parental control software programs to block access to sites and explicit content. These settings are password protected but kids are computer savvy, so be sure not to use a password that your child would easily know or they might be able to gain access to the settings.
- Use Privacy settings to restrict access to information about your child on various online sites. Most, if not all, social networking sites provide settings that limit who can view a child’s personal information. The privacy setting allows the gatekeeper to give permission to which friends, clubs or community groups are able to view a child’s profile and they can block unwanted guests such as predators or cyber-bullies from accessing any information.
- Teach your children to never give out personal information such as name, address, school they attend or if and when they are home alone at anytime. Encourage your child to be creative and use online nicknames so they don’t give away their real identity.
- Keep the computer centrally located in your home so you can periodically monitor internet activity without it being obvious to your child that you’re keeping an eye on them.
- Bookmark kids’ favorite sites for easy access.
- Limit the amount of time spent on the internet and encourage physical exercise.
- Teach responsible, ethical, online behavior that will help your child develop a respectable online presence.
By talking to your children about potential online dangers and being their gatekeeper, you’ll help them surf the Internet safely.
1 comment February 8, 2012