Updated: Apr 28, 2019
Cyber bullying is a huge issue in our schools and the problem starts at home. It is what we teach our kids, tell our kids, and how we hold them accountable for their actions. As my children grow their lives and thoughts become more separate from mine. They continue to put up walls and boundaries that are harder to break through. Their friends are influencing them more than ever before.
So how do we keep our kids from being bullied or becoming bullies?
Do we need to look at the causes or the effect? I don't think we can do anything about the TV shows, movies, Internet, video games, or societal attitudes. Trying to stop the cause is not a realistic goal, so we are left with finding solutions to the effects. If our children are going to participate in the world so must we. We need to be aware of the media that affect them and understand how their values are formed by them.
Communication is always the solution to forming strong bond between parents and children. Whether or not communications are effective depends on how parents communicate with their children. To instill values in our children do we give orders, "We don't believe in abortion!" Do we give ultimatums, "Don't show up on my doorstep pregnant!" Do we judge others,"Girls that sleep around are worthless." I don't believe talking at children or teens helps them develop values, you have to talk with them.
Keep communications open, plan one on one time with your teen with no electronic distractions. Initiate communication with "safe" non confrontational questions. Your current relationship will determine how long before you can start hitting the harder questions. When you feel the conversation is flowing freely and the barriers are down start asking them what they think about things going on in the news. What they thought about a movie. Then you can start asking them what their opinion is on the "big" values, abortion, drugs, bullying, etc. Don't judge the answers, don't react if you don't agree. Just listen and ask why. What are their reasons behind their beliefs or opinions. By understanding them you can then work towards helping them choose good values.
Stories help them to determine values. Pre schoolers watch shows and listen to stories filled with pure values that teach them to be helpful, selfless, and kind. Tweens watch shows and read books with more complex values and not all are pure and sweet. Then there are the stories that Teens watch and read. So how do parents mold their teen's values? Parent's need to watch the movies, read the books, and figure out their Internet lives to find red flags.
Parents do need to be sneaky, and its OK, these are your kids and its your responsibility to keep them safe. Just don't let them know how you have busted them on something, you don't want them hiding your evidence in the future. One of my facebook connections busted his daughter for sneaking out because she posted it, problem was he posted that she was busted. Next time she'll be more careful and he won't know what's happening. Pick the issues you want to address and then talk to them about it in general. Talk to teachers, read emails, friend on facebook, and check their rooms. Some things will freak you out, some things you will want to fix but with some things we have to trust that our children will fix them and we need to be there for them.
I am scared that my children won't always make the best decisions and that they may have to live through consequences I never would dream for them. I want to fix everything, be part of everything, know everything, and keep them from harm. Realistically though I can't, I can only be there if they do to help them get through it. I wish life wasn't so difficult but it is and its getting more dangerous. We didn't have to deal with Internet as kids but we did have mean girls, we had bullies, we had sex, drugs and crime. Those things are no different, the only part that has changed is the scope, it's more public with easier access. The values are the same and the solution is the same, communicate. Don't wait for them to come to you, you have to create opportunities to come together.
Cyber bulling is a criminal action - make sure your child isn't on either side of the courtroom.
I can't believe the government actually has to pass legislation that would compel ISP companies to report child pornography websites using their services and keep copies of any evidence uploaded to their sites. Failure to do so will result in Fines up to $100,000.00. Shouldn't this just be a given?
Why would any self respecting ISP owners who receive tips about child porn sites using their services not report it to police or save any and all evidence?
Is business really more important than children? Or is this law necessary to help collect evidence due to the privacy act that hinders the police? Since when is posting something online considered protected under the privacy act anyway?
Email your MPs and ask for tougher legislation to help close down these sites in Canada. In no way should any child pornography website be able to operate out of Canada.
Check out these sites that are helping to combat Child Pornography Online and Keep our Children safe on the web.
Cyber Angels CyberAngels is one of the oldest and most respected online safety education programs in the world.
CPAC - Children's Protection Advocacy Coalition - Not the best site but their are links to other world wide organizations that are trying to stop child porn.
Websites against Child Porn - Lots of good information and links to more information.
If you know of any site or how to help stop Child Pornography online or offline for that matter please add it in the comments and let's work together to protect our children.
The kids and I went to check out their great aunt's myspace page to listen to some of her music and were surprised to find some music videos. One of their favorite songs from last night's August performance was "Mad at Myself." We've watched it a few times now.
After watching the video I thought I'd read some of the comments that people have left. Some teeny bopper's thought it was 'gay.' - OK, I can see that, after all, they have yet to experience the things that happen during this song. Other teens though were outright rude and mean. Thing is - kids, don't forget your parents can see what you write! If I catch my kids swearing off and being rude and mean online they will lose more than Internet privileges.
The biggest problem with children, teenagers in particular, and the Internet is the parents lack of interest in how they talk to others online. Perhaps how they talk to others offline too. I am sick of listening to adults complain about how today's teenagers have 'no respect,' talk back, are rude, violent, or whatever negative complaint they have. The issue is deeper than that, it starts at the home and goes out into the community from there.
We could blame working mothers for not having enough time or energy for their children. We could blame stay at home mothers for smothering and indulging their children. We could blame TV shows, video games, liberal laws, friends, and too much money. Pointing and placing blame isn't going to solve the issue. Solutions, we are in need of solutions to help straighten out some of the delinquents that are coming out of high school and into the real world.
I am not looking forward to my children's teen years. I will be monitoring their online lives, and those of their friends to use what I find to open communication about what their actions could mean in the future.
For those children in our socio-economic circle I'd say "Consequences people", that's one part of the solution, consequences, there has to be consequences and we have to love our children enough to let them feel the full force of those consequences. It's easy when they are young, hard when they are older and the consequences are life altering. So start young, let your young children make decisions for themselves and experience the consequences of those decisions, it will teach them in baby steps how to make better decisions when it matters.
Communication is the key to shaping our children to be quality community minded people. Helping them think for themselves by asking open ended questions and listening to what they come up with as solutions. Asking questions that place them in others shoes and understanding how their behavior affects other people. Talking to kids about their day, their friends, and the challenges they face. Taking time to have one on one time to get to know your child is part of the solution.
I can't change the world, I can't make disrespectful teenagers be respectful, I can't stop adults that do nothing but complain and condemn others. What I can do is change the way I act and ensure my children become healthy contributors to society. I do this through communication, consequences, by example, and most importantly love.
I don't know why I keep reading the news...... it's scarier than any horror movie. For the Mohler family men, sexual crimes against children is a family affair. Five men are facing charges of crimes against children and the police have cadaver dogs out searching a farm looking for victim remains. The father of this family taught his 5 sons to be sexual deviants and together they abused the family's children.
These types of stories are horrific and are becoming a regular news stories. Is it becoming so common that all we do is say - oh there's another one - or do we continue to be shocked and horrified?
The question of the day is how do you protect your child from these types of people?
Is there anyway to rid society of this type of behavior?
The "experts" on the subject of keeping kids safe Online instruct parents to protect their kids by ensuring no one can access their kids. Sounds simple enough right, well I disagree with this method because you can't ensure that no one will ever access your children's information or them. It is safer to start young and educate them in baby steps about information, the Internet, and email instead of doing it for them.
Many parents have been to courses that instruct them to keep their contact information close and not to hand it out to anyone. They shouldn't let their kids have email addresses or have their name on any contact list. They should make sure their computers have parental blocks that keep kids from going to unapproved sites. They should manage their children's information for them and make decisions about what websites to visit.
The question is, are parents really protecting their kids by hiding from the world?
I don't subscribe to the whole hide away in order to protect. I allow my kids to have their own email addresses and phone numbers, does this mean I'm putting my kids at risk? I don't think so. My kids are still young enough that I have control over what they do. I use these tools to talk about what is appropriate and what is not, we talk about what information to put out into virtual world and what information to alter or hide. I allow them to practice these skills in the open (no computer in their room) and help them make safe decisions.
I ask them questions to ascertain what they think, what they know and problem solve for the best decisions. Instead of just making rules, I bring them into the decision making process to help them understand why they need to do certain things.
Before they could read, approved websites were saved in their favorites and they could click to get to them easily. As the grew older and began using search engines like Google we discussed what keywords to use and how to protect their information. My kids know not to use their real birthdays, addresses, or names. They have chosen safe birthdays, addresses, and names to use instead. They know why they can't use this information and what could happen if they do.
YouTube is a big issue in our house because my son thinks its the best site and his friends send him links. There are some things on YouTube that are not appropriate for him to watch. We have talked to him about what he thinks is appropriate, what keywords does he think he should avoid and a few others we deem inappropriate. We tell him why we don't want him looking at videos that are violent, have fighting, or are hateful. I use stories that I've heard about and ask him what he thinks about the story and how it affects what he does online.
We have some rules that are not up for discussion. Before he presses play he needs to read the title, the comments, and based on certain words determine if its is appropriate. The big rule when it comes to YouTube - he has to crank the volume so we can hear what he's watching. The computer is in the main living area so he can't sneak so easily, if he sneaks then he loses privileges. If his emails are inappropriate then he loses the email. He is learning what is appropriate by doing not being told or hidden away.
We also are made aware what friends are passing on links and information that is not appropriate and we can then act accordingly with that child. Once again our son is made apart of the decision process so he can learn how to choose friends.
They are still too young for facebook, myspace, and other social networking sites. But as they grow they will have the basics on how to protect themselves online and will have been practicing certain behaviors long before they are teenagers and I have little control over what they do.
I don't know, maybe protecting yourself by hiding your contact information and living in a bubble will keep kids safe. I doubt it because at some point they will want to have an email, have friends call them, and go out into the world. If they haven't made decisions or learned by baby steps over time how to protect themselves how can we expect them to know at 16, 18, 20?
With the recent discovery of Jaycee Lee Dugard I have to wonder if I can keep my kids safe from the darkness that lurks behind every corner. The frequency of discovered abducted children who are hidden away from the world for the pleasure of their captors is alarming. The reasons these children stay are hard to fathom and understand by those who do not know the details. As parents we teach, train, and educate our children, however, can we protect them from the shadows we don't understand ourselves?
Most of us are quick to judge and criticize others, always looking for the mistakes and ignoring the right choices parents make. We all gossip and when we do we rarely talk about the positive aspects of others. We want to regale the mistakes our peers make and downplay their successes. We want to rant, complain, and give advice - we don't want solutions to our problems we want to win the complaint contest, recognition, and rationalization of our fears. After all, is there any fear greater than loss?
The North American voter is plagued by fear, it affects every decision we make and what we believe to be truth. We see danger for our children everywhere we look, under every rock, around every corner and as a result we are raising a generation of fearful adults. Children no longer feel safe playing outside, what this will do in the long run is yet to be seen. I had a neighbour who saw danger in everything, she was constantly telling her girls, "danger danger." I am sure she viewed me as an unfit parent because I let my son get cuts and bruises to learn caution on his own. They moved away so I don't know if the girls see danger in every concrete stair, in every height, or every dog. I do know my son is cautious and knows his limitations without me telling him. I've always let him make choices and learn lessons from natural consequences, when not life threatening.
One lesson I don't want him learning on his own is how to stay safe from pedophiles and abductors. Instead of letting him learn safe limits through experience, I use small limitations and hypothetical situations to help him problem solve. I ask him questions about what he'd do in certain scenarios and help him come up with viable solutions. I ensure he knows which houses are safe, what numbers to call, and more importantly what his limitations are. Like every child most of his answers are fantasy and unrealistic. Its important he realize that he can't beat up an adult, he can and should try but his size makes it impossible that he'll succeed. He needs to know what to yell out, where to go, how to stay safe, and how to not be chosen as a target.
I am not naive, I know that regardless of what I do there is still a chance that he could get hurt in this dangerous world, so I pray. I pray that God would send his angels to surround my children and wrap their wings around them keeping them safe. There are lots of websites that tell parents how to keep their kids safe, all of them agree that communication is key to keeping kids safe. The worst thing a parent can fear is talking to their child about the hard topics, the uncomfortable topics, the taboo topics.
Last night W5 aired a segment on cyberbullying and how it is out of control. The effects of cyberbullying are worse than physical bullying as it creates constant fear in the victim.
Should parents be responsible for the actions of their children? Would it be too much to ask that children who are caught bullying be forced to go into counselling with their parents? Should a victim's family be able sue a bully's family for damages?
Take this thought a little further and ask should parents be held accountable if their child commits a crime? Whether it be dealing drugs, murder, or stealing? Would there be as much under age crime if parents were held responsible for what their under age children do?
If a family could be forced into family programs if their children committed a crime would they be more diligent about watching their kids?
Cyber bullying happens right under the noses of parents in their own homes. Parents should be responsible for what their kids do in their own homes at least. Programs should be created to help parents stop this type of activity in their own homes. Parents need to step up and be there for there kids and help them to be better citizens and better human beings. We can't always watch our kids, we can't always make choices for them, but parents can teach their children morality and how to make better choices in life.
This post was originally written in 2011 and the problem has only gotten worse.
Calgary is considering installing surveillance video cameras in certain public places to help convict criminals. The concern other cities like Kelowna and Vancouver have had are privacy issues. Really if you are in a public place, how much privacy can you expect to have? If you are concerned with your privacy in a public place, exactly what are you doing in that public place that would cause you embarrassment?
Think about it, if you have hours apon hours of surveillance video to go through the only things that are going to attract any attention are those things that are out of the ordinary. If you are doing something you shouldn't be doing in a public place someone saw you, probably got it on their camera phone and uploaded it to the internet. Surveillance video is more secure than that.
I'd rather know that there was surveillance video so that if something did happen to me there was video evidence of it to convict the criminal. Everyone complains that crime is too high, but heaven forbid we infringe on their right to privacy in a public place. After all it is their right to commit a violent crime against someone and not have it recorded on video.
For those who complain that video surveillance cameras in a public place infringe their right to privacy, I ask this.... exactly what are you doing in a public place that you wouldn't want law enforcement seeing on video?
Shannon Peel is a marketing professional, an author, and a content creator.