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Cyber Bullying

With the advent of the Internet, good and bad information is available with just the click of a mouse. Kids spend a lot of time online, e-mailing, blogging, chatting and instant messaging. All of these great tools can have dangerous consequences if they are not used wisely! Children who are growing up in this digital age are being targeted by online predators at an alarmingly high rate. This handout will provide you with resources and tools to help kids learn how to protect themselves while enjoying all of the benefits of the Internet.

Some quick facts:

53% of teens enter chat rooms and 85% of teens use Instant Messaging.

1 in 5 children between the ages 10-17 have been sexually solicited online. In 15% of those cases, the predator attempted to meet the child in person.

89% of sexual solicitations of kids were made in chat rooms or Instant Messages.

1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys were sexually exploited before they reach adulthood.

What is Cyber bullying

Cyber bullying can be defined as "willful and repeated harm inflicted through the medium of electronic text." This generally occurs through the use of computers and the Internet, as bullies can send harassing e-mails or instant messages, post obscene, insulting, and slanderous messages to online bulletin boards or social networking sites (like MySpace, Friendster, Orkut, and Facebook), or develop Web sites to promote and disseminate defamatory content. Harassing text messages also can be sent to a victim via cellular phones.

In terms of proactive and reactive responses, the Internet is replete with safety tips to instruct parents whose children frequently are online. In addition, software is available for adults to install on home computers to filter web content for adolescent users. Neither of these measures, however, are completely successful in protecting youth from online victimization, nor are they as effective as parent's supervision of (or involvement in) their children's online activities.

Research has identified the importance of ongoing discussions between parents, caregivers, or teachers and children about online interactions. As such, we have created sample "scripts" between a parent and a teenager to encourage cyber bullying-related conversations. We hope they are useful in encouraging parents to discuss this important issue with their web-using teens.


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