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admin2 On March - 9 - 2011

online backup software

For once I am not writing about online data backup, but instead on the important issue of making the Internet a safer environment for our children.

One cannot help but have noticed the great amount of media attention on the subject of cyber bullying as of late. For those not in the know, cyber bullying is any online message that harasses, threatens or humiliates. Children are extremely vulnerable to cyber bullying, so it is important that they are given information about what they can and should do.

You have probably already told your children not to put personal information on the Internet that would allow strangers to identify them. It bears repeating. This information includes their name, age, birthday, address, phone number and school name. Even photos of them wearing their team uniform should be kept off the Internet. 

Parents should stress to their children that they should speak out to their parents, teachers or other adults if somebody is being mean online. Silence just lets the bullying continue unabated.

If your children receive a threatening message, they should not respond to it. That goes for harassing messages too. Ignoring cyber bullies will deprive them of the reaction they are aiming for. 

The messages should be saved and reported to an appropriate adult. Future messages from the bully should be blocked.

Oftentimes children will create “polls” asking for friends to vote on hurtful things such as who is the ugliest girl in class. These polls can be construed as bullying and so should be avoided.

Adults know that emails are not really private. Children must be made aware of that fact of life. Please emphasize to your child that nothing should be written in a message that can’t or shouldn’t be shared with everyone. 

Cellular phones double as cameras, and it is very tempting for children to use them secretly. Parents should make their offspring aware that taking embarrassing photos and videos, or any photos and videos without permission, is not to be tolerated. Neither is sharing them online. Once a photo or video is uploaded to the Internet, it can potentially be viewable forever which would make it a blight on the victim’s future. 

These days it is becoming more common for a victim to be ambushed and bullied with the incident being recorded by accomplices. This behavior can result in criminal charges and/or lawsuits. If your children might be aware of incidents such as this, they should be encouraged to tell all to an appropriate adult.

Responsible behavior on the Internet should be taught to children when they are young. They are so much more sophisticated in their knowledge of new technology than most adults are, but oftentimes lack the judgment needed to be safe. With adult guidance, hopefully incidents of cyber bullying will dwindle. 



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