It's know as Internet safety or "stranger-danger". While parents used to worry about their little ones being bullied on the playground at school. Now, they have to worry about hurtful or harmful words or pictures being posted online for all to see. That's why Leon County School Board Member Dee Dee Rasmussen says parents need to get involved to make sure their children are safe.
She says it's important for parents to monitor their children's Internet usage and social networking pages. However, kids can also help themselves by using privacy control settings & not disclosing too much personal information, location, or suggestive photographs that would attract predators.
"Use private messaging, don't publicly post addresses, phone numbers, etc., " warns Rasmussen.
Rasmussen also reminds kids to keep it civil and positive. Refrain from posting mean or hurtful words or pictures about friends, relatives or teachers at school. Also, don't become a cyber-bully by posting hateful comments or threats about your peers, Rasmussen says.
"As parents, we have to teach our kids civility, social competencies and help them develop healthy peer relationships."
Using appropriate language and avoiding content that will hurt your reputation or even incriminate you is incredibly important. Rasmussen warns to watch the the groups or fan pages you join and remember that quizzes are posted and published broadly.
"Everything you put in writing can be used against you! Your digital DNA will follow you forever... what you put in writing today can affect your future credibility, job opportunities, running for office, getting into the FL Bar and other professional organizations."
School starts Monday for students in Leon county, and Rasmussen says parents & students will be required to read, discuss and sign the new Student Code of Conduct book for 2010-2011, which includes a section on "civility in schools", protecting our students' health safety and welfare, and includes zero tolerance on hazing, sexual harassment, offensive language, discrimination, bullying and cyberbullying.
** Of 2,000 randomly selected middle schoolers from a large school district in the US, 30% said they had been bullied on-line two or more times in the last 30 days. 22% admitted to being a cyber-bully.
--Cyberbullying Research Center
** A 2004 study of 1,500 students by iSAFE found 42% of kids have been bullied while on-line 35% have been threatened 58% say someone has said mean or hurtful things about them on-line 53% admit saying something mean on-line 58% have NOT told their parents.