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Letter to Parents: 

I am often asked what parents can do to protect their children online. Although the internet provides knowledge, connection and enjoyment to the world, it often leaves our children navigating serious life-skill development without proper guidance.

As parents, the most important influence you can have with your children is to educate yourself, and them, on the applications, websites and content they are consuming. Almost without question, children are far more experienced with the online applications and social media correspondence than their parents. Many social media sites and applications have specific rules regarding age restriction, content and decorum. A simple Google search is an excellent staring point and can lead to additional resources parents can use for information. As a parent, you should have enough access and awareness of your child's cyber habits to encourage safe and appropriate usage.

In order to foster responsible behavior, children should be instructed form an early age that access and use of digital devices is a privilege and not a right. This can be accomplished through usage agreements, password sharing and monitoring of online posts, pictures and content. Don't be afraid to parent your child through this stage of life; it may be the most dangerous time of their life!

Phillip Geiger, contributor to RAF
Former police officer and FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force Member

Cyberbullying

"Cyberbullying" is when a child, preteen or teen is targeted, (tormented, threatened, harassed or humiliated) by another minor using internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It typically occurs repeatedly, is often motivated by anger, frustration, jealousy or ego and the methods used are only limited by the child's imagination. Cyberbullying posts can be very hurtful, rude and embarrassing and may even involve threats of physical harm or death. Recent statistics show that Cyberbullying is more prevalent than bullying. The motives and nature of cyberbullying differ from typical school bullying. It is 24/7, in some cases anonymous and highly pervasive.
 
Children that Cyberbully can be charged as juvenile delinquents. Unrelenting teens may face a misdemeanor, cyber-harassment charge. At 16 years of age, the child can be prosecuted as an adult.
 
What you may not know is that Cyberbullying must be contact between two minors, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another child. Once adults are involved it becomes cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. The work place is a real hot spot for cyber-harassment.  This kind of behavior in the work place makes it impossible to create a healthy environment that fosters teamwork, positive results and productivity. 
 
Here are some tips to recognize and manage Cyberbullying and Cyber-Harassment. 


  • If you don't know the person sending the email, do not open it!

  • Always take a screen shot of the email message or text so you have proof that it happened and put a block on all future emails. 

  • When writing or posting live by these words: If you wouldn't say it to the person's face don't send it!  Don't hide behind your devices. 

  • Report all incidents to your parents, teachers and administrators or a Human Resources representative in the workplace. Keep reporting until someone listens and responds.