Magazine article Work & Family Life

What to Say to Kids about Cyberbullying

Magazine article Work & Family Life

What to Say to Kids about Cyberbullying

Article excerpt

A number of readers responded to the video of the beating of the Florida teenager who allegedly "trash-talked" her attackers on her MySpace page.

We agree that this is a critical issue for parents to raise with their children, and here are some tips from CommonSenseMedia.org to help get that conversation started.

Emphasize that actions have consequences. Talk about cyberbullying. Ask your kids if they know anyone who's been a bully or has been bullied. Describe the consequences in your own house and in society for this behavior. Make sure your children understand that violence matters in real life and online - and that they must report any harassment to you or another trusted adult.

Discuss the desensitization of violence. Screaming, cursing, beatings and smackdowns are pervasive on the media young people see. "Reality" shows on TV normalize outrageous behavior and violence among peers. Children can become numb to violence: the more they see, the more normal it appears - and what kids see on the screen affects their view of the world. Talk about your own values regarding violent behavior, but consider your child's age with any examples that you cite.

Tell kids to never post anything harassing or obscene. Like the Florida girls, they could be creating evidence of breaking the law. …

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