Maxwell Air Force Base   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > Cyberbullying: Parents are children's first line of defense
Cyberbullying: Parents are children's first line of defense

Posted 2/11/2011   Updated 2/11/2011 Email story   Print story


by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs

2/11/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Keeping children safe now involves a new dimension - cyberspace. Learning to navigate this terrain can be a challenge for parents, particularly those who didn't have Facebook and smart phones when they grew up. Marie Hixon, a personal and
work life consultant for the Airman and Family Readiness Center, and April Jones, Family Advocacy outreach manager, can provide some answers.

How do you define cyber dangers?

Ms. Jones: Cyber bullying is bullying or harassment that happens online. It can happen in an e-mail, a text message, an online game, or comments on a social networking site. It may involve rumors or images posted on someone's profile or passed around for others to see, or creating a group or page to make a person feel left out.

How early should parents start talking to kids about cyber dangers?

Ms. Jones: Start early talking to your youth about being online. As soon as your child or youth starts using a computer, cell phone or any mobile device, it's time to talk to them about online behavior, safety and security. As a parent, you have the opportunity to talk to your youth about important safety precautions and behavior before anyone else does.

How can parents protect their children?

Ms. Hixon: Keep computers out of children's rooms, and place computers where they can be supervised at all times. Learn the new technologies and how to follow the places their children have visited. Also, there are many sites to help parents to learn how to supervise their child's computer use.

What signs may indicate their children are being bullied online?

Ms. Hixon: Parents should look for mood changes, children spending more and more time online, too much chatting with someone the parent does not know, or on a site the parent is not familiar with. Look for some emotional dependence to being online, such as problems sleeping or eating, and changes in behaviors such as arguing more, changes in how a child wants to dress, or not spending time doing the things the child used to do.

How should parents handle cases of bullying?

Ms. Hixon: Parents should teach about the bullying before it happens. Don't downplay it or tell a child to toughen up and learn to stand up to it or just ignore it. Cyber bullying is becoming more prevalent and dangerous since adults are starting to join in. Save all communications for future reference. Try talking to the other parent. Find out what you can do legally by contacting the proper department of the local police force. Follow through with stopping the bullying once you start it and the other parties will not stop. Bullying often will escalate. If it is happening at school, involve the teachers and administration staff. If that does not work, pursue a legal course of action.

What should they say if their children are unwilling participants? What if they are sent an inappropriate photo?

Hixon: Save all communications for future reference, and teach your child to come to you or another trusted adult. Find someone the child is comfortable talking to, like a counselor or minister if they are not comfortable talking to the parent. If they are sent a photo, they should show it to the parent or a teacher if at school.

What should parents say and do if they learn their own children are bullies?

Hixon: First, get over any denial and seek counseling for the child and maybe even the parent. Restrict the means the child uses to bully other children such as the cell phone or computer.

No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Inside Maxwell AFB

ima cornerSearch

tabSocial Media Dashboard
tabTop StoriesRSS feed 
Maxwell ACSC instructor accepts DoD award

Congressional Gold Medal honors Civil Air Patrol’s World War II service

Governor visits Gunter CDC

International military leaders inducted into AU Honor Roll

Tool to safeguard PII to rollout December

BOV excited about Air University's future

32nd Annual Glenn Miller Concert returns to Montgomery

Glenn Miller

ACSC vice commander honored by Cambridge University

Innovating education: New commander of Air University challenges Airmen

  arrow More Stories

tabAETC NewsRSS feed 
Australian F-35 lands at Luke

Secretary James arrives at Columbus AFB

Altus instructor selected for KC-46 test and evaluation team

Lackland Sergeant completes formal course from all military branches

New 19th Air Force commander visits Vance

International military leaders inducted into AU Honor Roll

Sheppard Airmen disarm potential threat, earn medal for courage  1

Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act