Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Forbes Living Checks Out Apps to Zap Cyber-Bullies


School is back in session around the country and with it comes the cyber-bullies who think they can hide behind social media accounts and unaware adults. So what can kids who are being bullied and their parents do? Forbes Living shares information on the latest technology and apps which has the power to stop cyber-bullies.

The pain of a child who is being harassed, threatened and bullied online by classmates or other kids now has the opportunity and power to put and end to it. New technology is available and is a good deterrent against online bullying.

But first, nearly 15 percent of students in the 9th to 12th grades have experienced cyber bullying, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. These kids are twice as likely to commit suicide too.

A smart phone app just released called STOPIt gives children the option to take a screenshot of a harassing post, picture or text, and send it anonymously to a trusted adult. This is a very popular feature among teens who want to help but fear retaliation.

We Heart It is a site which allows users to post photos but allows no comments. It is also very popular with teens because of the no commenting feature. For parents who want to know when a cyber-bully posts something negative about their child, there is Metlife’s Defender identity protection program, which offers a service that monitors a child’s online accounts for abusive content and sends alerts to their parents. Forbes Living TV believes this is a good solution for parents who are a little behind on all the social platforms around.

Children and parents should also know what to do if a cyber-bully is present in their lives:
  • Take a screenshot of the image, text message or social post. Be sure to get the user’s name and date the threat is posted or sent.
  • Block the bully’s phone number, unfriend them on Facebook, block them on Twitter and Instagram.
  • Report bullies, including those under age 18, to the website, their parents and the school.
  • Kids should feel comfortable to tell an adult. Any adult they know whom they think will help: a parent, an aunt or uncle, a teacher, school counselor, religious leader like a pastor or rabbi, coach, or after-school mentor to name quite a few.
It takes courage to report someone who is cyber-bullying. When parents and kids do it together, it is less scary.

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