Friday, October 23, 2015

Cyberbullying Tips For Protecting Kids

Cyberbullying Defense and Protection Tips - 

Online Bully?  Here's Some Help

Online Bullying

"Cyberbullying" is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.

Not all bullying happens in person.  Increasingly it takes place online, emails, by texting and other means.  Cyberbullying, social media bullying, or online bullying, can be dealt with using some simple tips.   Here are some things you can do to protect yourself or your kids while online.  
  • Discuss the repercussions, consequences (even unintended) and safety issues about media, computer, phone texting and other app use prior to ever being allowed to use it. Parents, keep in mind that although you may not allow your children a phone or monitor online activity, they will have access to it through friends and other sources. Better trained and prepared for what can happen rather than operate under the assumption that they do not have access. 
  • Think twice before you post. If it cannot be forwarded, then it should not be posted. Just think of everything online or by phone as public and shared. Consider also how embarrassing it might be used or manipulated to hurt others.
  • Keep passwords secret from other kids and change them often.  Parents should always have children's passwords as a matter of practical safety for themselves and others.
  • Consider whom might see your online posts or messages.  Strangers? Friends of friends? Understand and maximize privacy settings to add an additional layer of security.
  • Parents must be kept in the loop.  Media and online time are privileges that come with serious safety considerations.  Kids, remember that your parents care about you and want to keep you safe.  Parents, remember to nurture your child's trust by having open communication about tough issues.
  • When in doubt - don't.  
  • Talk to an adult about any messages that make you feel upset or you might be concerned about.  If it is abuse, harassment, rude or cyber bullying, report it immediately.
Three Steps To Prevent Online Bullying
1. Stop responding no matter how provoking.  Don't take the bait.
2. Block, unfriend, disconnect from the person so that you no longer engage them.
3. Document and report the abuse if you need to pursue it.

Don't write it, participate in in, and do not forward it.  Be the hero.

For more information on online bullying (cyberbullying) or bullying prevention help.

Online Bully?  Here's Some Help



Tuesday, October 6, 2015

What To Do When Bullying Finds You - Bullying Defense Tips For Parents and Teachers

Feeling Bullied?
An opposite approach the the institutionally administered so called anti-bully movement.
Inside Out Instead of Top Down - Methods That ACTUALLY WORK!

What Do You Do When Bullying Finds You or Your Child?
Great question.  Among the myriad of self proclaimed experts and well intentioned amateurs offering advice it may be difficult to wade through the sea of responses and find what works for you or your child.

Parents and Teachers...

  • Bullying is the most common form of violence in American society according to the National Association of School Psychologists.
  • Bullying affects 15 to 30 percent of students as either bullying child or the targets of bullying
  • Studies have shown that adults who were bullied as children have a much higher level of depression and lower self-esteem than those who were not.

1. Investigate.

Prescription without diagnosis can lead to increasing problems and complexity, exacerbating the problems rather than solving them.
Is the child teachable and capable of self help?  Perhaps guiding them through the process with options is the best course of action.  What are the roles of the teacher, administration, parents, friends and social climate?  What are the emotional and social skill levels of the individuals involved?
How can we work to improve resiliency factors, dignity and peace of mind of the child?
Above all, reassure the child that you believe them, will listen and help them make the situation better.

2. Separate facts from fiction and judgmental opinion.

Jumping to conclusions, labeling "bully" or demonizing are proven to be failed approaches.  Rather than label, seek first to understand the dynamics, history, individual dynamics and keep an open mind to the totality of reality and the contributing factors.
Use wisdom, compassion, empathy and reassurance without the blame game.  Responding with wisdom is more powerful and helpful than reacting with simple emotion.

3. Encourage empathy and dignity for all parties at every step.  

Avoid demonizing, labeling and other escalating behaviors.  Reassure the individuals that you understand the pain and acknowledge it.  However, try to help them understand that they are empowered with expanded points of view and that forgiveness has more power than revenge.   Anger is OK as long as it moves us in a more positive and helpful position.  Anger just needs to be directed in a productive direction.  It does not help to dwell on it for too long.
Focus on solutions and the desired outcome, rather than the past hurts and actions.  Revenge focuses on the past.  Peace is focuses on the future.  This doesn't mean to diminish the pain or injury, nor ignore it.  It simply means to address it appropriately and not let it hold you back.

4. Collaborate with teachers, counselors, and parents for a win-win solution.

Begin to look at the resources available and see everyone as on the same team of desiring a positive outcome.  Look for ways to make it a teachable moment and seek the best available long-term outcome.  An empowered child who feels happy and secure is much better than a child empowered with pseudo-celebrity from attention grabbing victim-hood.  Being a perpetual victim is not a wise life-choice.  We may not always be able to control what happens to us, however, wise and powerful individuals choose how they react to those circumstances.  Share true stories which exemplify overcoming odds and difficult situations while retaining dignity.

5. Educate, train and prepare the individual for the future.

When we see these conflicts as opportunities for teachable moments, we change the dynamics significantly.  Sometimes, children who demonstrate aggressive behaviors are at risk at home, abused or simply neglected.
Children who are passive, often believing they are being nice, have no idea that they are making themselves soft targets and positioned for repeated abuse, and not just with bullying.  Instead teach them how to choose the behaviors, body language, boundaries and actions of an assertive individual.  Offer peaceful solutions so they can make better choices.
If you must intervene, do so with the knowledge of the short and long term consequences.

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