Cyber-bullying: How to Protect Our Kids
August 13, 2013
Updated February 27, 2014
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Schools will soon be back in session, and – if you’re a parent – cyber-bullying may be on your mind. Will your child become one of a growing number of victims?
In my community, the tragic consequences of cyber-bullying have been front page news since the death of Rehteah Parsons last spring.
The teen from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, was bullied mercilessly in her school and the community after a photo of an alleged assault was circulated on the Internet.
The CBC story Child porn charges against 2 teens in Rehtaeh Parsons case elaborates on the case. Rehtaeh was taken off life-support on April 7.
Police reopened Rehteah’s case in mid-April. Now two 18-year-old men are facing pornography-related charges as a result of that investigation.
The CBC story explains that new cyberbullying legislation was introduced in Nova Scotia just prior to the arrests, giving victims the ability to sue alleged cyberbullies or their parents, if those accused are minors.
Unfortunately, there have been many other news stories in recent years where teens have lost their lives as a result of experiences related to cyber-bullying. As a result, some jurisdictions are implementing new legislation, as Nova Scotia did. But clearly more than legislation is needed. Many partners must come together to prevent and respond to the devastating effects of cyber-bullying.
So what can we do -- as families, churches and the Christian community -- to prevent cyber-bullying and protect children and youth?
Stopbullying.gov suggests a few tips for parents and youth. It's one place we can start. "Parents and kids can explore safe ways to use technology," explains this website. Tips include:
1. Be Aware of What Youth are Doing Online
Stopbullying.gov explains, “Talk with your kids about cyberbullying and other online issues regularly.” The website suggests:
2. Establish Rules about Technology Use
3. Understand School Rules
Stopbullying.gov states: "Some schools have developed policies on uses of technology that may affect the child’s online behavior in and out of the classroom. Ask the school if they have developed a policy."
If your school doesn't have a policy, encourage them to develop one.
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