Like any other media-involved story, Amanda Todd's is filled with emphasis to encourage interest and leads to misinform reader.
I believe that regardless of what the real story is, the underlying message is important. As any parent, cyber bullying is a big concern and I want to be as informed as possible so that I can raise my kids without ignorance.
I discussed Amanda's story with my 10 year old step-son Mason. I didn't go into scary details; I just informed him that she exposed herself online to an individual that tormented her with it. That putting something on the internet is permanent and doesn't just disappear.
I bought a computer armour this summer to hide my desktop in the kitchen. So whenever the kids are on it, they need permission and I can see everything that happens; whenever it's out of use, I can hide it behind doors. I know how to check the history when it comes time to monitor him closer.
11 Facts About Cyber Bullying
- Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. One in four has had it happen more than once.
- One in three teens has experienced cyber-threats online.
- Nine out of ten middle school students have had their feelings hurt online.
- About 75% have visited a website bashing another student.
- Four out of ten middle school students have had their password(s) stolen and changed by a bully who then locked them out of their own account or sent communications posing as them.
- The psychological and emotional outcomes of cyber bullying are similar to real-life bullying outcomes, except for the reality that with cyber bullying there is often no escape. School ends at 3 p.m., while the Internet is available all the time.
- Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying.
- Girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying.
- About 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than four out of ten say it has happened more than once.
- 90% of victims will not inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse.
- Cyber bullying has increased in recent years. In a national survey of 10-17 year olds, twice as many children indicated they had been victims and perpetrators.
How Parents Can HelpIf you discover that your child is being cyberbullied, talk to him or her about any experiences you have had in your childhood. This can help your child feel less alone. Let your child know that it's not his or her fault, and that bullying says more about the bully than the victim. Talking to teachers or school administrators also may help, but take cues from your child.
Many schools, school districts, and after-school clubs have established protocols for responding to cyberbullying; these vary by district and state. But before reporting the problem, let your child know that you plan to do so, as he or she could have concerns about "tattling" and might prefer that the problem be handled privately.
Other measures to try:
- Block the bully. Most devices have settings that allow you to electronically block emails, IMs, or text messages from specific people.
- Limit access to technology. Although it's hurtful, many kids who are bullied can't resist the temptation to check websites or phones to see if there are new messages. Keep the computer in a public place in the house (no laptops in children's bedrooms, for example) and limit the use of cell phones and games. Some companies allow you to turn off text messaging services during certain hours. And, most websites and phones provide the option for parental controls, which provide parents with access to their children’s messages and online life.
- Know your kids' online world. Check their postings and the sites kids visit, and be aware of how they spend their time online. Talk to them about the importance of privacy and why it's a bad idea to share personal information online, even with friends. Encourage them to safeguard passwords. Write up cell phone and social media contracts that you are willing to enforce.
- Look to the web for resource and support information about cyberbullying.