Monday, September 25, 2017

Parenting Pointers: Cyberbullying Prevention

Cyber-bullying is no joke. Join the author of Saving Phoebe Murrow during National Bullying Prevention Month to protect your children from online/social media (cyber-)bullying:

Let’s say this at the outset: I would suggest that with the advent of the Internet and social media, the job of parenting has grown exponentially more difficult, and you are not alone. It was hard enough navigating children through those tricky teen years, dealing with teens’ raging hormones, peer pressure, and shaky self-image, but adding the Internet and social media to the mix has compounded teen problems and therefore your job as a parent. With the Internet, access to every form of information has expanded (in ways good and bad), and with social media the potential dangers and risks to teens have grown as well.

When tackling the issue of children and social media, we’re really dealing with a nine-tentacled octopus, so to speak. By that I mean there are so many forms of social media these days, and different ones target children of various ages. For example, teens are using everything from SnapChat and Kik Messenger to Instagram and Tinder (a dating site). Younger kids might use Facebook, SnapChat and video game sites. So is it actually possible to protect them? 

A few tips: 
  1. It’s essential to educate yourself about what social media platforms exist, and which age group they target. Here’s a great online article that will get you started. (apps examined in detail: )
  2. You have the right to know what platforms your children are using. Know their passwords, etcetera. You are the parent and you pay for the phone. With responsible use rules can become more lenient.
  3. Invite your teen to teach you how to use various forms of social media. This can bring you into their world. For younger children who are just starting to venture into this world, teach them responsible use of social media. (i.e.: Kind messages only. Remember everyone in the world may see this, including your grandma, so don’t write anything you wouldn’t want her to see!)
  4. Limit time on phones and computers. Take all technology away at a reasonable time each night. While teen anxiety and depression have many causes, overuse of social media is adding to such problems. 

Current statistics suggest that a large percentage of teens have suffered one or more cyber-bullying incidents. Two excellent sources of information on cyber-bullying and prevention: and and online safety: Family Online Safety Institute:

My novel, Saving Phoebe Murrow, was inspired by a cyber-bullying event in Missouri which sent a teen to suicide. Feel free to contact me if you’re interested in learning more or having me appear at your book group.

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