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article imageCyberbullying is parents' biggest fear

By Jane Fazackarley     Oct 27, 2010 in Internet
With several cases of bullying and cyberbullying making the headlines recently, carried out a survey in the United States to find out what parents thought about the issue.
394 adults were questioned as part of the telephone survey and participants were all aged 18 and over. The research was carried out over a three day period in early October.
Almost one in three parents who have children aged between 12-17 thought that cyberbullying is more worrying than domestic terrorism, car accidents and suicide. 62% of parents also thought that modern technology and social network sites were making children "fiercer".
The recent cases highlighted in the media have added to the fear that their child could be a victim and 69% of parents said that they now monitor text messages, social network pages and talk to their children about bullying.
Monica J.Villa is the co-founder of The Online Mom website, she told me:
"I was not surprised by the findings of the survey, cyber bullying has been the no. 1 fear for parents for a while. But I do believe it is getting worse — technology is enabling this behavior and parents are struggling to catch up."
"When I speak about this subject I emphasize the fact that monitoring their technology is a palliative measure. It will not PREVENT bullying and the damage to the trust bond could be worse because parents in that situation lose the connection their kids need in the first place. If you are going to monitor – you better make sure they KNOW you have the ability to monitor and they know you'll do it from time to time."
"One of the most important rules to help protect your child against bullying and cyber bullying is to make sure they have more than one group of friends. The day will come when they're on the outs, and having other groups of friends to rely upon will be the difference between an unpleasant episode for her to deal with and a devastating situation."
A recent survey by the Cyberbullying Research Center interviewed 4000 students and the results show that 20% of those questioned say that they have been the subjected to cyberbullying. Bullying of any kind can cause depression, anxiety and loneliness.
Catherine Angelastro, ED.S, told me:
"Bullying and Harassment have always been of deep concern for schools around the country– something we all take very seriously. It is a constant in the school community. In fact, it is taken so seriously, the Obama administration has suggested stripping schools of their funding if they do not deal with the bullying issue. Most schools post their bullying policies on their websites and in student handbooks to make sure the community is well aware of the procedure. Years ago students were bullied out loud – on playgrounds, in class, written in notebooks and words from your parents such as just ignore it – or walk away were common and cliché. These words that teens and children used to use have now been replaced by texting and Facebook and the audience – once a group of youngsters playing – has become thousands. The apology uttered in the principal’s office was good for then – but how do we fix the hurt done now with modern technology. – as the kids say “it is a blessing and a curse.”
"Although many schools do have educational programs in regards to bullying and harassment– a means to highlight this can be using guest speakers and real life situations. Educating the community strengthens the commitment for everyone to work together in promoting acceptance. I have been a part of several programs that have a straight forward –shoot from the hip message to students. Ryan’s Story is a very powerful assembly program presented by the father of a young boy who committed suicide as a reaction to cyberbullying and texting. Rachel’s Challenge is a program discussing the Columbine shooting and the consequences of bullying. Michael Fowlin is a phenomenal presenter and also deals with educating students and parents on these issues. All of these programs are offered nationwide and can be a true enhancement to any program. One of our universities has developed a statewide program –Kean University for educators and students which has grown in popularity in the past few years. It is an excellent source for diversity training."
"I have seen the ease in which students are able to text and the hurt that may become of it. As a school counselor I advocate for the education of all – we have past the days of walking away from a problem, and rhymes like sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me – in today’s world of technology the stone is thrown."
More about Cyberbullying, Care com, Parents
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