From the Parish Nurse
I decided to pick a difficult topic for this month after hearing a news report that an area school is no longer letting kids get changed in the locker rooms. It struck me as odd. With a little further research it became clear the reason for this was bullying, and often cyber bullying. When I was in high school there may have been some fights and teasing, but no one was taking pictures of anyone as they were getting changed and then posting it on a social media site. Can you imagine how you would feel going on FACEBOOK and finding an unbecoming picture of yourself partially naked!!!!
Cyberbullying is a new and constant threat to kids old enough to use the technology. Cyberbullies lurk on chats and blogs luring in unsuspecting kids to think they have a wonderful new friend or a knight in shining armor who is coming to profess their true love. It might be a nasty person on the other side who is trying to gain their trust, get embarrassing or personal information and then post it for the world to see. Fake profiles have been set up by bullies to hurt other kids. Especially when your child is looking at colleges or for a job, what is out there on social media is looked at and can have a strong influence as to whether they are accepted. Children have committed suicide due to cyberbullying. It is not something to ignore!
Stopbullying.gov has some tips for parents to try to help prevent cyber issues. First, be aware of what your child is looking at on line. (You would be surprised with the number of kids who innocently stumble onto porn sites.) Ask your kids to let you “friend” or follow them on social media, install parental controls, ask for their passwords onto sites that require them, and FREQUENTLY discuss the dangers of the internet. Set up rules for use of computers, cell phones, tablets, etc. Warn them NOT to share passwords to their sites. Someone can create things on their site that are awful (but it will look like they did it themselves). It is almost impossible to trace and hard to delete if this happens. Remind them never to post anything mean or embarrassing about others, even if they are upset. Once it’s been put in print, it’s out there for time and all eternity! Underage kids have put pictures of themselves drinking at a friend’s house on social media and have caused the unsuspecting friend’s parents big trouble.
I will have info out on the glass cases in Fellowship Hall. Please talk to your children, especially those entering middle school, about this topic! Call me with concerns! 315 759 9039.
God Bless, Beth