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CYBERBULLYING INCLUDES: sending mean messages or threats via any communication portal, spreading rumors, sexts, or sexually suggestive pictures, posting hurtful or threatening messages about others, and pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person. Students who admit to having cyberbullied someone point to unsurprising reasons: to show off to friends, a desire to be mean to or embarrass someone, for fun or out of boredom, as retribution, or because “they deserved it.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES points out in an article found here ,... “Cyberbullies themselves resist easy categorization: the anonymity of the Internet gives cover..." But parents, floundering to protect their children, keep an eye on their online activities, and understand new technology should not feel helpless about this problem. The first step that many parents struggle with but must take is to make an effort to become cell-phone and social media literate. It is important to understand the methods that teens use to communicate, which can be abused as harassment tools. Then, parents need to implement security software on home computers, including keyloggers, and find a way to keep tabs on cell phone and mobile device activity - as that same NYT article says, to turn “cell phones into parenting tools.”

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CONSTANT ACCESS to the internet and social media today, whether through mobile devices, laptops, school computers, or personal gaming systems, presents an invitation to online harassment. Experience has shown that cyberbullying represents a real threat to mental health and physical safety. A recent survey conducted by cyberbullying.us with a random sample of 200 11 to 16 year olds in the southern United States found that 19.0 percent of girls and 16.1 percent of boys admit to having cyberbullied others. Based on trends in internet access, especially to social networks via cell phones and personal mobile devices, coupled with the common belief that cyberbullying is easy to hide from parents and teachers, this figure has increased since the survey.

PARENTS HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO STOP CYBERBULLYING! Tools that directly interact with digital communication devices offer parents and easy way to meet their responsibilities without constantly having to be present to watch over their teens.


SEXTING IS: When cell phone users... often teens and "tweens"... create and exchange provocative messages or sexual images of themselves using their cell phone and its built-in digital camera. Sexting is also the act of sending sexually explicit photos, messages, voicemails, IM’s, videos, etc., either via phone, computer, webcam or other device.

WHY ARE TEENS SEXTING? Peer pressure! This is the most common answer reported by teens. They state they did it because someone asked them to. I know, it seems like they could easily say no, but imagine you're a teenage girl or boy who has a serious crush on someone. You think you're in love and you'll do anything to keep your "true love" happy. So, you take that revealing photo and SMS it to the person you love. The act is done in less than 30 seconds. All it takes is a bad break up and that photo can be shared with more people than you can fathom in less than another 30 seconds. In fact, in less than a minute a teen's life can be "virtually" ruined, no pun intended.


Don’t just talk to girls about sexting.  Research shows that boys are just as likely to send sexts as girls, and boys’ sexts are more likely to be forwarded.

Talk about digital permanence: Whenever kids are sharing personal things about themselves they should keep in mind that these could easily end up being seen by people they didn’t want it sent to.
Encourage your child/teen to ask themselves questions about what they are sharing. For instance:
1) Is this how I want people to see me?
2) Could somebody use this to hurt me? Would I be upset if they shared it with others?
Show them the followng PSA as a reminder of how once something is posted, it never goes away...

On-line Predators

ON-LINE SEXUAL PREDATORS do exist and are a huge threat! They target both boys and girls of all ages and use the anonymity of the Internet to their advantage since they can be whomever they want.

Are “online predators” and “pedophiles” the same thing?

Online predator and pedophile are terms that are often confused. So let’s try to understand the difference between these terms. Technically, online predators are not pedophiles as pedophiles prey on for young children, who haven’t reached puberty yet. Online predators tend to look for young teens. Online predators are sometimes also referred to as “cyber stalkers”.


The internet predator has three favorite tools they love to use to target their victims:

1) Online chat rooms that offer private messages or private rooms that they can isolate your child and become aggressive without being observed by others.
2) Messaging apps like KiK and others! Again, because they can get your child one-on-one and try and take advantage of them.
3) The webcam is one of the favorite tools of the predator to find out what your child looks like, to try and gain personal information about them, and to manipulate them into doing things on camera to compromise their safety.

What does an online predator “look like”?

Show your kids the followng PSA as a reminder of how internet predators seem like friends...

"Predators are in all professions. Unfortunately, we have seen doctors, lawyers, law enforcement and clergy. There is really no common trait. In fact, many of them are drawn to those particular professions which give them access to children"

—Mary Beth Buchanan, U.S. District Attorney, Western Pennsylvania

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