As all of us are increasingly aware the use of technology has increased ten-fold in the past years. This increase has been particularly evident during the Covid-19 pandemic. With this increase in technology exposure there has also been an increase in the likelihood that our children will be exposed to “cyberbullying”.
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming rooms where people can view, participate in, or share content. Sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok are just a few of the sites where cyberbullying can take place.
Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.
Parents and educators need to be aware and alert for changes in a child that may indicate that they are victims of cyberbullying. A decline in grades, depression, a change in eating habits, school avoidance are just a few of the signs that may indicate that a child is experiencing cyberbullying.
As a parent what do you do if you think your child is being cyberbullied or to protect them from being bullied?
- Communication between you and your child becomes critical during these times. Keep your child safe with open communication. Have an honest dialogue with your children about who they communicate with and how. If your child is experiencing cyberbullying encourage them to tell you or a trusted adult immediately. Be alert if your child appears to be upset or secretive with online activities.
- Use technology to protect them. Check that your child’s device is running the latest software and antivirus programs, and that privacy settings are on. Keep webcams covered when not in use. For younger children, tools such as parental controls, including safe search, can help keep online experiences positive.
- Spend time with your child to identify age appropriate apps, games and other online entertainment.
- Remember to balance online recreation with offline activities, including time outside, if possible.
- Explain that cyberbullying is harmful and unacceptable. Discuss appropriate online behavior and make it clear that there will be consequences for inappropriate behavior.
- Monitor your child’s computer use. You want to protect your child’s privacy yet, your child’s safety and wellbeing may override these privacy concerns.
Be aware that the Eatontown School District is here to assist you in any way it can. If your child is a victim of cyberbullying that is associated with school, report it immediately. Parents have the ability to access direct reporting through our website under “Report a HIB Incident” on our menu under “Anti-bullying”. Please take some time to read through our policies and procedures when dealing with a HIB investigation. Please be aware that counselors, Child Study Team members, principals and district staff can be valuable resources to assist you and your child.
Listed below are some staff members that can be valuable resources should you need assistance:
Deirdre Brown, Memorial Middle School Guidance Counselor firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtney Schindler, Margaret L. Vetter School Guidance Counselor email@example.com
Jana Phelps, Woodmere School Guidance Counselor firstname.lastname@example.org
Katelyn Oesterle, Meadowbrook School Guidance Counselor email@example.com
Clement S. Bramley. Jr., Interim Supervisor of Special Services firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristoffer Brogna, Principal of Memorial Middle School email@example.com
Tara Micciulla, Principal of Margaret L. Vetter School firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Iozzi, Principal of Woodmere School email@example.com
Tiffany Boufford, Principal of Meadowbrook School firstname.lastname@example.org
Clement S. Bramley, Jr.
Interim Supervisor of Special Services