Helping Kids Respond to Mobile Harassment

Filed Under: Cyber Bullying

  • M obile phones and the internet make it easier for today's teens to anonymously spread gossip and inappropriate images of classmates to a much larger audience.

  • Whether done consciously or unconsciously, participating in this type of behavior can result in long-term psychological harm, depression, anger, violence, low self-esteem, and even suicide.

  • It's important as a parent to educate your teen about the possible consequences of their actions. Here are some guidelines for having that conversation:

  • Teach your teen to stop and think about what they are doing before they take action on a text message or an inappropriate photo or video. Address what is acceptable and not acceptable in mobile and Internet communication.

  • Stress the significance of speaking out against this type of behavior, or, if this is not safe or possible, suggest they offer help to the intended victim or report such actions to you or another responsible adult.

  • Remind your teen that it would feel awful if it were done to them (or to their brother or sister), and that it is important to be a helpful bystander, meaning that it's never okay to support or encourage this type of behavior by forwarding a piece of gossip or an inappropriate image.

  • Help your teen gain a sense of responsibility for the well-being of others and the willingness to help another. tell them you value being a good citizen to others as a family value. Make sure you behave the same way!

  • Make sure your teen knows that it is never okay to threaten anyone through their phone, online or offline, make fun of others, post embarrassing photos, impersonate others, forward salacious messages about others and so on. tell them that the consequences of this behavior may be to face the police, school administrators or legal authorities. In the case of sexting, one teenager faces having to register as a sex offender when she sent explicit sexual photos of herself (a minor) to her boyfriend.

Filed Under: Cyber Bullying

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