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Family Forum: Children’s Internet Usage

Bullying has changed now that it can be done on the internet.

Internet usage by children seems to have increased lately as well as their usage of cell phones.While when cell phones first came out they were not typically in the hands of children, now many have their own phones and some are using it to gossip as well as for sexting and bullying.

Bullying has changed since some of us were in school. Before it was the teasing and name calling in the schoolyard; now it's grown to messages on social messaging sites and internet videos, et cetera.

Notre Dame School in New Hyde Park recently had a presentation about cyberbullying. During that discussion Jill Brown, founder of bullying prevention group Generation Text, explained to the children the consequences of cyberbullying and sexting.

"If you send a picture of your naked body part or forward it to people, you will be charged with harassment, which is jail time and a big fine," she said. "If there is a video of a sexual act, that’s child pornography and if you send that video to somebody…you could be charged with possession or distribution [if forwarded to somebody], which is jail time and being a registered sex offender; something that happens for life.”

Given the effects of bullying on the internet and sexting, how do you best guard your children from experiencing this?

Safia Sattaur April 06, 2011 at 09:05 PM
When they slip up and go wrong, let them know that they are wrong and their actions have consequences, but more importantly involve them, explain to them, teach them and make them understand WHY whatever they did is wrong. This way, they will know for the future and will be better equipped going through life. It’s like the saying goes “tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand,” or something like that
Alexandra Zendrian April 07, 2011 at 01:53 AM
I agree with that idea that if you raise your children well and teach them to come to you when you need them and to be honest that they are less apt to get in trouble in these kind of ways or at least to reach out for help if they do.
Tom Rich April 10, 2011 at 01:11 AM
Sgt Thomas Rich, created Generation Text and this presentation back in 2008. Sgt Rich now operates under www.alwaysconnected.org. Having recently been featured on Good Morning America and The Nancy Grace Show, Sgt Rich continues to provide cyber bullying seminars all over the tri-state area. His assemblies cover texting, sexting, Facebook and Formspring issues tying all of it into cyber bullying.
Cynthia Litman April 16, 2011 at 02:25 AM
Banning the Internet seems so unrealistic, my toddlers already know how to surf around and find their way to Sesame Street and I'm sure they'll figure out how to unblock any parental controls we put in place.
Cynthia Litman April 16, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Totally agree with Safia in that communication is key and understanding what "do unto others" really means.

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