Friday, March 9th, 2012
How do you start talking about tough topics like cyberbullying and online safety in an age appropriate way that provides practical knowledge and common sense without making your children fearful? Start slowly and use free resources from reputable organizations that are targeted to their age level. Empowering children against bullying provides them with critical tools and knowledge that not only are helpful against cyberbullying, but are versatile life skills that will serve them well in a variety of situations.
Great for all ages:
- Common Sense Media’s Parent Media and Technology Education Program provides a wealth of free resources by grade level. Designed for educators, the curriculum is just as appropriate for home use and broken down for grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 and provide digestible information on safety and security, digital citizenship, and research and information literacy.
- StopCyberbullying.org is a well-designed site with informational resources for kids, tweens, and teens. Learn about different kinds of cyberbullies, how to tell the difference between flaming, cyberbullying, harassament, and cyberstalking, and how to respond when cyberbullying is affecting your child.
- In preschool, it’s important for kids to begin understanding what bullying is. While parents need to know what to look for in terms of the physical and emotional signs that could appear if their child is bullied, kids should have some skills so they know How to Handle Preschool Bullies. Having dealt with preschool bullies in our home, I compiled a list of resources for dealing with preschool bullies.
- Common Sense Media says that “staying safe is about a child’s entire online experience” and provides reasons why internet safety is important along with internet safety basics that serve as the dos and don’ts of the online world through their free downloadable Common Sense on Internet Safety for Elementary School Kids. Visit the second page of the document for Strategies for a responsible- and safer- online life.
Tweens and Teens:
- Let’s be honest- it can be hard to convey a message to tweens and teens without being preachy. In the world of cybersafety, MTV capitalizes on their ability to reach tweens and teens through A Thin Line. Designed to educate in a hip way that appeals to the current MTV generation, A Thin Line provides parents with tools for starting conversations on digital abuse, gauging your child’s awareness, and also encourages action. Parents of tweens and teens can begin with Get the Facts to brush up on current topics. Know it all tweens and teens will be challenged in their knowledge of what does and doesn’t constitute digital abuse when taking a short quiz. Because there’s a thin line between appropriate and inappropriate behavior, A Thin Line will also teach them how to defend their digital domain.
- Tweens and teens who have a firm grasp on internet safety are being called upon to be mentors to others through a user-generated video contest called What’s Your Story. Designed to give youth a voice by educating others about the online safety and digital citizenship in a fun way, What’s Your Story empowers kids to make the internet a safe and secure place for them and their friends. Individuals and schools can enter videos on topics such as taking action against bullying, maintaining a good online reputation, and being cell smart for the chance to win cash prizes ranging from $1,000-$10,000.
Cyber Bullying via Shutterstock