Tips Offered to End Cyberbullying, Sexting

TERRE HAUTE, Ind., Aug. 23 (UPI) — Stopping a cyberbully may require saving text messages and e-mails used to harass or harm, a U.S. counselor says.

Bridget Roberts-Pittman of Indiana State University in Terre Haute says a parent’s natural tendency may be to encourage a child to ignore the information and delete.

“That is the opposite of what we want children to do,” she said in a statement. “Information can be tracked and traced.”

Roberts-Pittman says social networking cites can be contacted and asked to remove information. Harassment via cyberbullying should be discussed with the police, she adds.

Ninety-three percent of parents say they knew what their children were doing online, Roberts-Pittman says. However, 52 percent of children say they do not tell their parents what they do online.

Bullying has long posed problems for children, she says, but surveys also indicate 25 percent of children today report being cyberbullied and another 20 percent of teens report engaging in sexting — sending sexually explicit photographs of oneself typically by cellphone.

“Parents have a right to check their child’s phone and Internet use,” Robert-Pittman said in a statement. “Parents need to talk to their children about cyberbullying and sexting.”

Parents need to be alert to danger signs such as anxiety, depression, not wanting to attend school, or drastic decisions such as quitting a team, Roberts-Pittman says.

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