Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just One Click

Cyberbullying is: Using technology in a hostile way that is intended to harm others.
Bullying has spread from the playground to the Internet. With one click of button it reaches into a mass audience further and faster then ever.
Although some may think cyber bullying is fun and entertaining, what they might not know is that is traceable and in some cases a crime.

Types of online bullying behaviors:
Flaming Angry rude arguments
Harrassment Repeatedly sending offensive messages
Denigration Dissing someone online by spreading rumors or posting false info
Outing and Trickery Disseminating intimate private information that is then sent to others who were never meant to read it
Impersonation pretending to be someone else and posting material to damage that person’s reputation
Exclusion Intentional exclusion from an online group by blocking them.
Cyberstalking: creating fear by sending offensive messages and other harmful online activities
Cell phones have been used to take pictures at school and then pictures posted on line

Kids might not tell you they’re being bullied because of fear of revenge by the bully. Some think no one can or will help them. Others think it will make things worse.
Kids might feel that they will lose privileges of using the computer.

How do you know if your child is a target?
Hopefully they’ll come to you. If not, pay attention to their behavior when they are at the computer. If you notice they are often upset ask what’s going on. Also go to the internet yourself and using the google search engine type in your child’s first and last name in quotes to see if there is anything posted on a website.

· Be observant, recognize the problem when it’s happening,
· Talk to your child about what you expect. Addressing this behavior will let your child know you will not condone it. Caution against joining in on bullying, it’s just as bad as starting it.
· Explain we don’t say anything online we wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Email is not private, a mean remark can be easily forwarded.
· Because email and instant messages don’t include facial expressions, communication can be misinterpreted.
· Stress that passwords should never be shared; someone else could send emails from your child’s account.
· Do not let your child respond to the bullying online. That can make it escalate.
· Let your child know your there for them.
· Make sure the Instant message “buddy list” is limited only to people they know and block all other incoming messages.
· Save the offending messages to your hard drive. The IP provider will want live communication not just a printout.
· Limit time spent online.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When my "twenty-something" daughters were elementary school age...by Guest Blogger, Carole Aksak


I used to walk them to the bus stop every morning. On the first day of school I would take a picture of all the children standing there waiting for the bus to come. We always enjoyed comparing this year’s pictures with those from the years before. We could see how friendships may have shifted, how their sense of style was changing by the clothes they chose to wear, even how their interests were beginning to take shape by the musical instruments they toted along with them or by the sports equipment they carried. I’m sure the picture would look very different if I were snapping a picture of my daughters at the bus stop today. I would probably be snapping the pictures from my cell phone, downloading it to my computer, posting it on my Facebook page then sending it off in an email to my family and non-Facebook friends. And, I would probably get it all done before my daughters had even arrived at the front door of their school. Technology has changed everything, especially for our kids, not only in the way we communicate, but in the ways we work, play, and conduct our relationships.

One of the “jobs” of a child is to figure out exactly who she is and where she fits in the world. School is a wonderful place to do that. For a few hours a day, we separate from our parents and move into a world where we get to try things out for ourselves. Friendships help us to navigate the school day. Our friends provide us with clues to our identity. Our friends help us to feel connected, which is a universal need. Our earliest ancestors depended upon the group for their survival. Kids today are no different. They still need the security and protection of a group of friends to help them figure out who they are. What’s different today is the impact of technology on our kids and on their relationships.

Girls need our help to understand the intricacies of friendship, including what that means as a member of the “always on” generation. Parents need a better understanding of how they can help their child to have positive healthy relationships as their child grows. Girl Scouts of Nassau County is here to provide safety and guidance as girls navigate this “brave new world.”

For more information about healthy relationships or to bring a speaker to your parent group, please contact Carole Aksak at 516.741.2550 ext. 254.