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The Reality of Cyberbullying: How to Protect Your Children

Cyberbullying among children is becoming more and more popular given the overwhelming access to technology. Things like body shaming and harassment have become commonplace in schools and on the internet. There has been such a huge influx that online support groups have been created where children can share their bullying experiences.

It is important that you're aware of how to protect your children from cyberbullying, but also inform them on how to prevent it. Cases of cyberbullying have caused kids of young ages to commit suicide or other grave acts of self-mutilation, such as cutting or burning. Sometimes these instances become criminal charges.

In 2013, the case of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick's suicide was linked back to previous cyber harassment by other teenage girls. Florida police reported that as many as 15 girls may have been bullying Sedwick and more were discovered with continuing investigation. An arrest wasn't made however, until the older of two girls (ages 12 and 14) admitted on Facebook to bullying Sedwick and being apathetic. Online threats were made while the girls were still in middle school, to assault Sedwick, and that she should kill herself by drinking bleach. Polk County Sheriff, Grady Judd, said that Sedwick was terrorized on social media.

The resulting legislation that was passed in the state after Sedwick's terrifying ordeal was that the school systems had jurisdiction in cases of cyberbullying both inside and outside of the institution.

Ways to Prevent and Protect Kids from Cyberbullying

As parents, there are steps you can take to help your children from being bullied or from becoming a cyberbully. Here are some tips:

  1. Keep track of your child's social media accounts. Have access to their phones and tablets.
  2. Help them understand why it's important to be mindful of what they say in comments and even in private messages. Behavior like commenting when angry and trash talking another individual are words best left unsaid. Even if they choose to go back and delete the comment or message, a screenshot can live on forever.
  3. Remind your children that they should not share personal information with anyone on the Internet.
  4. Teach your children not to share passwords and usernames with anyone other than their parent. Other children having access to your child's social media accounts can lead to your kid being blamed for an event of bullying that they were unaware of.

It is also important that your children alert you if they see any evidence of cyberbullying either with themselves or another student/friend. Like with most things that can have an unwelcome outcome for another person, early intervention is usually the best. The sooner you're able to take control of the situation the better it is for both parties.

A good many younger children are unaware that their actions may be harmful to others or that internet bullying is crime. If your child has been accused of internet harassment or cyberbullying and was unaware of the gravity of their actions or falsely named, consult a criminal defense lawyer. Contact us to go over your case and receive a free consultation.

Article References:

Borges, N. (n.d.). The Rise Of Cyberbullying: The Case Of Rebecca Sedwick. Retrieved September 12, 2016, from http://wlrn.org/post/rise-cyberbullying-case-rebecca-sedwick

By Carmen Gonzalez CaldwellSpecial to The Miami Herald. (n.d.). How to protect children from cyber-bullying. Retrieved September 12, 2016, from http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article100643932.html

ReachOut.com. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2016, from http://us.reachout.com/real-stories/friendships-and-peer-relationships?gclid=Cj0KEQjwpNm-BRCJ3rDNmOuKi9IBEiQAlzDJH-Ai8DCOc6mLcYq6T1u5SN1-4sWk-gB5pmC5FKpK3q8aAloF8P8HAQ

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