Advice for Parents: If you suspect your child is being harassed digitally

bully prevention starts with knowledge of bullying behaviorIf you don’t think your child is being harassed take a note of this:
50% of people ages 14-24 have experienced digitally abusive behavior. *
61% of those who have sent a naked photo or video of themselves have been pressured by someone to do so at least once.*
*2009 poll conducted by MTV
Digital harassment is when technology and electronic communication devices are used to “stay in touch” – but the relationship has become manipulative and controlling.  If someone is feeling badgered or threatened this is a form of cyber-bullying and many times takes place between two people in a romantic relationship.  Many times  there are demands for passwords, inappropriate photos, requests for one of the parties not to be a friend to another on a social website or it may become a time when lies / rumors are spread or someone is being impersonated.

In the 2009 poll conducted by MTV it was found that those being targeted by this sort of harassment may not want to come to school anymore, may engage in risky behavior or even have ideation of suicide.  For parents this is a time for you to stay close to your teen and support them, with discussions about online safety and reminding them that you are there for them.  You may also want to encourage your child to be willing to talk to other trusted adults such as a teacher or counselor at school.  Help them to to set boundaries that they are comfortable with.  Most of the time when photos are sent, passwords shared or other inappropriate acts take place on line it happens after there has been pressure put on the student by one or more other students.

Here are a couple of resources that may be of help to you and your family. Continue reading “Advice for Parents: If you suspect your child is being harassed digitally”

How to talk to your child about “Sexting”?

Whenever I have heard of a situation where a child has been sending mean or lewd messages to other students the parents are always the last to know.  The last thing we want to have happen to us as parents is to learn that our child has either been sending or receiving messages with photos of themselves or others that would put them in a compromising position.  So what can we do?

As a parent we must be careful not to react in a manner that would make our child less likely to talk to us about any of these subjects, so how do we make sure that they have the real information on the impact of “sexting” with their friends?

Talking about the subject ahead of time is always the best route.  At least then we have a starting point so that in the future our child knows where we stand on the subject and they have accurate information.  One thing you may consider is when giving your child a phone with texting capabilities that we set some ground rules, not just on the amount of usage (dealing with cost) but also on what is appropriate and why.  Start by showing them this video:

We may ask them some questions as a starting point and then let them understand where we stand on the subject. Continue reading “How to talk to your child about “Sexting”?”