Saturday, March 29, 2008

Safety Saturdays (#7) - Tips for Keeping Kids Safe Online and Offline


Cyberbullying is using technology, such as email, text messaging, blogs, and websites, to spread rumors and gossip; post pictures of someone without their consent; and/or embarrass, threaten, or harass someone. It can be easier for kids to bully in cyberspace because there is no face to face contact, they can be anonymous, and they do not see the immediate consequences to their actions.

According to a recent study,* 19% of teens report being harassed or bullied online. Among 16- and 17-year-olds, the incidence is 23%. Online harassment is particularly disturbing for children because 85% of cases happen in the comfort of their homes. Also, in 44% of cases, it is their peers who are harassing them.**

What can you do?

  • Teach children not to respond to rude and harassing emails, messages, and postings.
  • Save messages and other evidence, in case the situation escalates.
  • If the harassment continues, have your child delete their current accounts and give new information only to a few people they know they can trust.
  • Remind your kids to respect other people's privacy and feelings and not to be cyberbullies themselves.
  • If you feel like your child is in immediated danger, contact your local law-enforcement agency.

Where can you find more information?

  • Stop Cyberbullying provides information for parents and educators, plus age specific information for kids, ages 7-10, 11-13, 14-17.
  • A project in Canada, which is helping kids who are dealing with the issues of bullying and teasing, provides further information about cyberbullying through one of their websites and an information sheet.
  • NetSmartz Workshop provides on- and offline learning activities for parents to facilitate discussions with their children and teens about Internet safety, including cyberbullying.
  • NetSmartz411 is parents' and guardians' premier, online resource for answering questions about Internet safety, computers, and the Web.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is a particular topic that you would like to see covered in a future post. (If you are not familiar with blogging, you can still leave a comment below. Just click the anonymous button and type your comment in the text box provided.) Click on the "Safety Saturdays" label to the left to get more safety tips.

*Cox communications Inc., National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and John Walsh. Teen Internet Safety Survey, Wave II. 2007

**Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2006.


Digging for Pearls said...

If you have a few minutes, I would love your input on my blog in regards to the ten struggles that Christian women face. Thank you!

Scrapping Servant said...

I missed you over at the My Walk Meme on Monday, hopefully I will see you next week.