Cyberbullying is when a minor torments, threatens, harasses, humiliates, embarrasses or otherwise targets another minor using the Internet, cell phones or interactive technology. If an adult is involved, it is cyber- harassment or cyberstalking. If this occurs, Ignore, Block, Report.
If someone bullies you, ignore them. Sending mean messages back may get the victim in trouble as well as the bully.
Block the bully from all of your social networking sites, cell phone and email.
Talk to a trusted adult.
You deserve backup. It's always good to involve a parent but - if you can't - an aunt or uncle, grandparent, close family friend, school counselor, teacher, coach or religious leader usually knows how to help. All kids need the phone numbers of 3 trusted adults in their cell phones so they can call for help whenevere they need it. Many schools in California have online mechanisms to report bullying.
Save the evidence.
Harassing messages can usually be captured, saved, and shown to someone who can help. Save evidence even if it's minor stuff - in case things escalate. Take screen shots, copy, paste and save.
You're doing yourself a favor. Even if you don't like a person, it's a good idea to be decent and not sink to his or her level. Research shows that gossiping about and "trash talking" others increase your risk of being bullied.
Don't be a bully.
You know the old saying about walking a mile in someone's shoes; even a few seconds of thinking about how another person might feel can put a big damper on aggression. That's needed in this world.
Be a friend, not a bystander.
Forwarding mean messages or just standing by and doing nothing empowers bullies and hurts victims even more. If you can, tell bullies to stop, or let them know bullying is not cool - it's cruel abuse of fellow human beings. If you can't stop the bully, at least try to help the victim and report the behavior.
Teach your kids to get adult help if something uncomfortable happens online. Remind them it is not “telling” or “tattling” if someone may be in danger or is getting hurt.
Sexting and Child Pornography
Sexting and Child Pornography
Many people have heard the term "sexting" - the sending of nude photos over a cell phone or the Internet. When a minor does it, it is child pornography and it is always illegal. A Pew Internet Study from 2009 has shown that 12% of 12-18 year olds have sent a nude photo of themselves. Explain to your children that this is illegal and potentially very damaging to their reputation.
Child pornography is defined as “any visual depiction of a minor involved in sexually explicit conduct, not necessarily sexual activity.” If you see child pornography on or offline or hear about people who are viewing or producing it, TAKE ACTION! These are crime scene images, and viewing re-victimizes. Report your suspicions by contacting the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children or call your local police, call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or click on this link: www.cybertipline.com
Talking about sex becomes easier if you begin age-appropriate discussions early. The Good-Touch/Bad-Touch program is a starting point. Books that teach kids about appropriate kinds of touch are another great way to get the conversation started.
“My Body is Private” by Linda Walvoord Girard
Evaluate adult/child one-on-one situations. Instruct your child to NEVER get together with someone without telling you, this includes family members, friends, neighbors, etc. Parents always need to know where their kids are and who their with.
Has someone you know been victimized?
If you have any suspicions, trust your instincts. Tell someone! Don’t let your children -- or the children you know -- become victims. Contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, call your local police or call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
The Megan’s Law website shows where registered sexual offenders live.
Posting Personal Information
Sharing personal information like age, school, favorite activities, etc., provides opportunities for predators to befriend and “groom” your children. Teach your children to keep all of their social networking profiles set to private and remind them not to add people they don't know in person. Colleges, scholarship committees and employers now routinely visit the social networking sites of applicants before offering them opportunities. Kids need to build excellent online reputations to show the world how great they are, not their flaws.
Do not put addresses, locations and times of sports games, parties or other activities online. Remember that information and images put on the Internet can never be completed deleted or erased from cyberspace.
Protect your passwords
You wouldn’t share your ATM secret code, so why would you share your computer passwords? If someone knows your password, they can access your information, alter or share it. Teach your kids how to use passwords and protect them. Passwords used for social networks, instant message programs and email accounts should be shared with parents but not friends. Identity theft amongst kids is the fastest growing group of victims.
Sites that kids use to share and post information about themselves and talk online with others are known as social networking sites. Parents need to know which sites their kids are using and who they talk to. You must be at least 13 years of age to set up a profile on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter. Remind kids not to lie about their age, this may activate geo-location services or alter privacy settings.
See how these sites work and establish your own profile. Ask your child to help you set it up or visit this link:
TIP: Have an agreement with your child about the rules you expect them to follow online and discuss the consequences if the rules are broken.
TIP: Have your child adjust his or her privacy settings so that only “friends” can view their sites. Instruct your child to never “friend” someone they don’t know.
TIP: Google your child often. Check to see if their name comes up any where on the web.
Kids seek privacy at certain ages and parents need to decide how much to give their kids. SafetyNet recommends keeping computers in public areas of the home, charging cell phones in parent's bedrooms at night and checking text messages and "friend" lists often. If you are an online “friend” of your child you are able to view all of your child’s activity, unless they arrange their privacy settings to block you from seeing posts, friends, photos, etc. Some kids may establish a second profile that you don’t know about.
TIP: Familiarize yourself with the risks. Review settings on social networking sites with your child and understand how they work.
Many games children play online have an interactive component, this means they can play with people from around the world and even “chat” with them. Know which games your child is playing and who they play with or talk to in these games. Before you purchase games, learn about them by reading reviews and playing them with your child. Gaming can be fun if kids follow simple guidelines.
For game reviews visit: www.commonsensemedia.org