Friday, June 5, 2020

Sheriff’s tip: Understanding and preventing cyberbullying

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The following is from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and has been edited by Homepage staff:

Bullies are nothing new, but internet accessibility has given rise to another type of bully.

The Cyberbully.

Cyberbullies use email, instant messages, blogs, chat rooms, and social networking to harass their victims.

Cyberbullies utilize the internet for the following:

  • Sending insulting messages
  • Spreading rumors
  • Posting embarrassing photos
  • Posing as someone else
  • Sharing secrets online
  • Threatening victims and making them live in fear
  • Excluding victims from an online group

Who is affected by cyberbullying?

Middle school and high school aged youth are most likely to be affected. Your child may be a victim and not tell you.

Why do kids cyberbully?

Children become cyberbullies for the same reasons they bully in person. It makes them feel important. But unlike bullies, cyberbullies can hide behind anonymity on the internet and be just as mean to others.

What are the dangers of cyberbullying?

Victims of cyberbullying can get so upset or depressed that they attempt suicide or hurt others. While bullies my threaten children at school, cyberbullies “invade” your home so there’s no escape from them. Hurtful messages or pictures can be emailed, posted online or forwarded via text, making bullying widespread and long lasting.

What are some warning signs a child is being cyberbullied?

Warning signs may include: unexplained anxiety, anger, sadness, or fear — especially after using the computer of cell phone — falling grades, lack of interest in friends, school or other activities, trouble sleeping and an increase or decrease in computer or cell phone use.

What can parents and guardians do?

  • Talk to your children. Tell them to let you know if anyone is being a cyberbully. If someone is, have your child save all communications from that person.
  • If you fear your child is in danger, report incidents to the internet service provider or cell phone carrier, your child’s school and police.
  • Find out how to block the cyberbully’s email address or phone number or change your child’s online information.
  • Note that filtering software cannot prevent cyberbullying.

What can your children do?

  • If one of your children receives a hurtful message, he or she needs to tell you about it, but not send a message back. Responding negatively to the cyberbully, or forwarding the hurtful message to others can make your child a cyberbully as well.
  • Avoid websites where cyberbullying occurs.
  • To keep others from being hurt, your children should report any instances of someone they know being cyberbullied.

For more information and tips visit https://www.stopbullying.gov/

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News Release
This information was provided for dissemination to our readers and was edited to comply with Associated Press style and professional journalism standards by Homepage staff.

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