Cyberbullying must end!

Technology is great. Unfortunately, some people use it to harm others. It’s known as cyberbullying—and it’s a serious issue that’s victimizing too many of our kids.

Don’t know what cyberbullying is? It’s when people (often kids) use electronic devices (computer or phone) to send mean and abusive messages to others. It might include starting rumors, forwarding embarrassing photos, and creating fake Facebook pages. The intent is to harass a specific person—often for no reason.

Cyberbullying can be done anonymously, 24X7, with no recourse (unless the bully is caught, and even then, recourse is unlikely). Sadly, it affects kids friendships, relationships, and education—every aspect of their life.

For victims, it’s very difficult to get away. Let’s face it, our kids can’t just shut off their phone or computer. They need their phone to stay connected with mom and dad. They need the computer to do their homework, apply to colleges, research jobs, and so much more.

All you have to do is Google “cyberbully in the news” to quickly see the dire impacts of cyberbullying. Together, we can make a difference. It’s time we stand up against cyberbullying. Where to begin?

1)Talk with your kids about cyberbullying. Find out what they already know. Ask if they know anyone who is being victimized. Talk about what they might do if/when they learn a friend or classmate is being cyberbullied.

2)Together, visit www.cyberbullying.us and learn about ways to prevent as well as respond to cyberbullying.

3)Let them know you’ll be watching their online activities in an effort to help their friends (and them of course). The father of a 12 year-old girl from Virginia did just that. Here’s what he discovered (as reported at www.cyberbyllying.us):

“On December 17, 2010, my daughter was a victim of cyber bullying. There were four children involved in a chartroom within their e-mail accounts. One ring leader who seemed rather angry with my daughter started name calling, letting her know nobody liked her, and even went as far as wishing she would die in a hole. This obviously was a very hurtful conversation which led to my 11-year-old daughter to even consider death as an option. I thankfully monitor my child’s accounts and was able to copy the conversation, and bring this conversation to my child’s school. They acted quickly, and knew the severity of the situation. My hope is that there will be a positive outcome, and the four involved will have the opportunity to learn from this. Education and positive guidance are important tools to use as you do not want it to repeat, nor [do] you want it to fester in the minds of these young souls.” (Father of 12 year-old girl from VA)

Together, we can make a difference. Click to learn more.

About DeAnne Boegli

DeAnne Boegli is the National Public Relations Manager for TDS Telecommunications which means she wears a lot of hats on a day to day basis. DeAnne jumped on the social media train early (TDS joined Facebook in 2008) and has been keeping her team at TDS up-to- date with the rapid changes in these popular online sites, in addition to her more traditional public relations, reputation management and media roles. DeAnne holds degrees in Journalism and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin- Madison and has over 20 years of experience in the communications industry. She has been in telecommunications at TDS for the past 13 years; prior to that she managed corporate communications for Rayovac which is also headquartered in Madison, Wis. In her spare time, she teaches dance classes at a studio she started in 2001. So, if you need to learn to tap dance she could help. We all know some PR types are known for dancing around issues, but not DeAnne she tells it like it is and just dances for the sport of it. DeAnne has a unique blend of corporate and entrepreneurial experience which gives her great perspective in talking with business owners and marketers like you.

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