Tag Archives: parenting

Report links Cyberbullying and Suicide

Internet safety tips from the Ascentive team

Although the taunting of children by their peers always been a fact of life while one grows up, the growing popularity of the Internet in our society has escalated bullying to alarming proportions. Known as Cyberbullying, this type of bullying usually occurs when individuals utilize information and communication technologies to execute deliberate, repeated, and hostile actions intended to harm others. Whether it’s creating a fake social network member page to impersonate another child, transmitting harmful text messages or images, or posting malicious comments somewhere on the Internet, CyberBullying can seriously hurt a child. Mean comments, lies, embarrassing photos, videos, or malicious polls can be spread to a wide audience through texts, email or through posts on social networks. Some photos are even doctored with Photoshop to make them even more embarrassing and harmful.

Even worse, studies are now connecting Cyberbullying and teen suicide. A report by Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D of the Cyberbullying Research Center notes that victims of Cyberbullying were almost twice as likely to have attempted suicide when compared to children who have not experienced Cyberbullying at all.

So what can you do to prevent Cyberbullying?

Talk to your Child

The first and most crucial step to take to prevent CyberBullying is to talk to your child about it. Make sure they know CyberBullying is wrong, and explain your expectations for their behavior. Encourage your children to come to you immediately if anything gets out of hand, and make sure they know never to take revenge on a cyberbully.

Create a Code of Conduct

Warn your children that if they would not say something to someone in person, then they shouldn’t communicate it online. And remember to set guidelines for the use of their computers and cellphones.

Online Security

Remind your children to keep their passwords safe, and not to share anything private online. Have them create their email and IM accounts with you, and make sure they do not put their personal info in their profile or screen name.

Delete Suspicious Emails

Train your child to always trash suspicious emails without opening them.

No Pretend Behavior

Warn your child never to pretend that someone they are not in chat rooms, IM’ing, or on social networks.

Filter Emails

If your child is cyberbullyied via email, use an email filter to direct all the cyberbully’s messages to go to a special folder, then forward the messages to the email provider.

Block Bullies

Tell your child that they can block bullies from their messenger buddy list by clicking on the “Block Buddy” button.

Research School Policies

Review your children’s school’s policies on bullying and discuss them with your children. And if there are not any policies on bullying in place, ask whether there are any plans to create them.

Install Tracking Software

Tacking software is special software that tracks malicious emails and automatically forward these emails to the sender’s Internet Service Provider.

Watch your Children

Finally, continue watch your children’s behavior. Ask your children how they interact with their friends and what kinds of problems pop up.

Cyber-bullying in the Workplace

Internet safety tips from the Ascentive team

Parents all over the world are aware of the growing threat of cyber-bullying. Cyberbullying is the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others. Approximately half of U.S. students are impacted by bullying each school day on buses, in the cafeteria, gym, hallways, playground, and in classrooms. But you may be surprised to know that cyber-bullying has discovered a whole new arena: the workplace. Unfortunately, Cyber-bullying has taken workplace bullying to a new level.

We all know how quickly an email can spread information or an idea. Imagine the impact when an email or even a text messages broadcasts an unverified rumor about a target.

Even worse, whereas cyber-bullying is usually the act of one person attacking a single target, there’s also the possibility of cyber-bullying mutating into cyber-mobbing, which is an instance of multiple people attacking someone. All a workplace cyber-bully needs to know is your email address or phone number. These cyber-bullies can remain anonymous under an assumed email identity, or even block their number when calling you.

Luckily, there a few things you can do to curb cyber-bullying:

•    Save emails that contain any type of bullying messages. Your company may have a way to find out who owns that account, and you can then block that email address from sending you anything. In addition, the email can serve as evidence that you are being bullied. And if you have received a bullying email from a fellow employee, forward it to your Human Resources department.

•    Never use your work email account for personal matters. Always use a completely separate email account for personal use.

•   Never tell your online connections (people you have never met in real life) your company’s name or where it is located. If you do, you run the risk of someone learning the email address that you use for work.

•   Use an email program that filters out anyone that’s not list in your “safe” list. For extra security you can download an email verification program from the Internet that ensures you are in control of who sends you emails. With these programs an unidentified sender has to first apply to you, then you can accept or decline the request.

•    For Cyber-bullies who use text messages to attack, you can also block identified phone numbers. Just call your cell phone company to arrange the block on the number.

Although Cyber-bullying is a passive form of bullying, it’s as serious as any other form of bullying at work. Just remember that you can always take the steps above to block and verify who contacts you in order to regain control.

How Cyberbullies Attack

Computer safety tips from the Ascentive team

As technology evolves exponentially, it’s crucial that parents, educators, and local law authorities keep abreast of the potential threats that children may encounter online. Unfortunately, Cyberbulling is a rapidly growing problem. A cyberbully uses the Internet, cell phone, or other device to send or post text or images to try to hurt or embarrass other people. Here are the types of abuse to watch out for:

A popular form of Cyberbullying, trolling is the act of sending or posting electronic messages that are deliberately hostile, insulting, mean, angry, vulgar or insulting, to one person or several, either privately or publicly to an online group.

Inspired by popular Internet gossip sites, gossiping occurs when a person sends or publishes cruel rumors, or false statements about a person to intentionally damage the victim’s reputation or friendships.

Message Board Posts
Message Boards are online bulletin boards where people post anything they choose. Although there are many good bulletin boards on the net, there are many hostile message boards like 4chan that children should avoid, as the postings on these types of message boards are abusive.

Harassment is when the electronic bully repeatedly sends insulting, hurtful, rude, or insulting communications via email or text messages.

Impersonation the act of breaking into someone’s account by stealing a password and changing it, or by maliciously using information provided by a friend.

Happy slapping
Happy slapping occurs when an unsuspecting victim is physically attacked as an accomplice films or take pictures of the incident. The image or video is then posted online at a video site like YouTube or distributed electronically.

Text Wars
Similar to harassment, a Text War occurs when several people gang up on the victim, sending the target hundreds of emails or text messages, resulting in high cellphone bills.

Hate polls
A hate poll asks readers to vote on specific hateful questions, such as “Ugliest freshman” or “Biggest slut on campus?”

A more sophisticated form of Cyberbullying, this is the act of a computer hacker sending malicious computer code to the victim’s system in order to spy on the victim.

Images and videos
A result of the popularity of camera cell phones, photographs and videos of unsuspecting victims are now taken in bathrooms and locker rooms, then distributed online to humiliate the victims.

Outing occurs when a Cyberbully releases a victim’s confidential, private, or embarrassing information online, including private email messages or images meant for private viewing.

Trickery is when a person purposely convinces another person into divulging secrets, private information or embarrassing information, and subsequently publishes that information online.

A relatively minor form of Cyberbullying, exclusion occurs when someone intentionally excludes another person from an online group or community.

Keeping Children with Food Allergies Safe

Summer Safety tips from the Ascentive team

Food allergies are no laughing matter. People with food allergies can have serious or even life-threatening reactions after eating or coming into contact with certain foods. So how do you keep your children with food allergies safe when they’re away from home? Dropping your kid off at school, daycare, or camp means that you are giving up control over what food your child comes in contact with. Here are five important ways to keep children with food allergies safe.

1) Teach Proper Safety
Keeping children with food allergies safe starts with your child. In addition to teaching your kids to avoid foods that they are allergic to, show them how to wash their hands thoroughly before and after eating, and how to use an Epipen, an auto-Injector used for the emergency treatment of a severe allergic reaction. And remind your child to never share utensils or drinking straws with other kids, eat their friends’ snacks on the bus, or sample unusual foods brought into school.

2) Institutional Food Allergy Management Plan
Every institution that supports children in some way should have a Food Allergy Management Plan. This plan includes policies regarding the use of food throughout the day and in various activities, where medications will be kept, and protocols for contacting emergency services and parents in the event of a child having an allergic reaction. These institutions should also ensure that there is phone access in case of a severe allergic reaction that requires a call to 911.

3) Staff Training
In addition to the institution’s management plan, education about food allergies and their treatment should be provided to every staff member of the institution that supervises children. This training should also include drills for food-allergic reactions so the staff may practice implementing emergency plans and using the Epipen.

4) No Cross Contact
Avoiding cross contact requires thoroughly cleaning utensils, cookware, glassware, storage containers, and other food preparation materials used with a food allergen before the item is used to prepare or non-allergenic meals. Washing food storage containers and dishes in a dishwasher or hand washing them with hot water and liquid dish soap is generally adequate to remove these allergens.

5) Food Allergy Action Plan
Every child who has a food allergy should have a personalized Food Allergy Action Plan. This plan should include a recent photo of the child, a list of their allergies, signs and symptoms the child might experience during a reaction, appropriate treatment instructions from the child’s doctor, and emergency contact information for the child’s parents/caregivers and doctor. The plan should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in the child’s allergies as well as the age-appropriateness of medication doses.

Five Books to Help You Deal with Cyberbullying Now

Tips to handle cyberbullying from the Ascentive team

Despite cyberbullying being a relatively new problem for children in school, a number of resources are now available to help parents deal with it. In addition to website such as www.stopcyberbullying.org and www.cyberbullying.us, there are many book on the subject. Here are five books to Help You Deal with Cyberbullying now.

1) BullyingBeyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying

By Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin

Focusing on how technology can facilitate or magnify traditional forms of peer harassment, “Bullying beyond the Schoolyard” paints a vivid picture of online aggression among adolescents by recounting the stories of victims, summarizing current research, and reviewing recent legal rulings. The book also provides proactive prevention and intervention strategies to equip parents, educators, counselors, law enforcement, and other youth-serving adults with the tools necessary to protect students from the negative effects of cyberbullying. Finally, it includes many special features, such as questions for reflection after each chapter, numerous illustrations, and reproducible resource documents to further educate those involved.

2) Cyber Bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age

By Robin M. Kowalski PhD, Susan P. Limber PhD, & Patricia W. Agatston PhD

“Cyber Bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age” provides an overview of bullying research in general, paying attention to research from around the world, and an overview of the cyberbullying research, much of which the authors have been directly involved in conducting. The authors provide current research that informs the reader as to the pervasiveness of this event in the lives of children.

3) Teen Cyberbullying Investigated: Where Do Your Rights End and Consequences Begin?

By Thomas A. Jacobs J.D.

Among books recently published on this topic, this one distinguishes itself by covering more than 50 actual court cases involving teenagers. Although Judge Jacobs assures teenagers of their protected legal rights, especially First Amendment rights, the hearings are a sobering reminder of the real dangers and legal consequences of cyberbullying.

4) Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social Aggression, Threats, and Distress

By Nancy E. Willard

“Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social Aggression, Threats, and Distress” contains a Parent’s Guide to Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats, a fact sheet entitled CyberbullyNOT: Stopping Online Social Cruelty, a Situation Review Process handout and School Action plan for working with parents and students, and detailed guidelines for managing in-school use of the Internet and personal devices, including cell phones. Appendices contain reproducible assessment and program forms/

5) Confronting Cyber-Bullying: What Schools Need to Know to Control Misconduct and Avoid Legal Consequences

By Shaheen Shariff Ph.D

This book is directed to academics, educators, and government policy-makers who are concerned about addressing emerging cyber-bullying and anti-authority student expressions through the use of cell phone and Internet technologies. The author analyzes government and school responses by reviewing positivist paradigms. Her review of a range of legal frameworks and judicial decisions from constitutional, human rights, child protection, and tort law perspectives redirects attention to legally substantive and pluralistic approaches that can help schools balance student free expression, supervision, safety, and learning.