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Know cyberbullying signs

Herald-Tribune - 9/19/2017

Keeping our children safe is a top priority for the Indiana General Assembly every year. During the 2017 legislative session, we passed laws to create child abuse prevention measures in schools and require teachers and other employees of public, nonpublic and charter schools who work with students in grades 5-12 to complete a suicide prevention training program every three years.

These two measures will help address some aspects of student safety, but there are other issues that are hard to combat with legislation. I encourage parents to keep an eye out for other dangers this school year like cyberbullying, which is bullying through the use of technology.

In a 2015 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 16 percent of high school students in the United States reported being bullied electronically.

While this form of bullying is not always easy to detect, the Cyberbullying Research Center found that victims often become depressed, withdraw from family or friends, avoid discussion about their online activity, appear nervous when using a cellphone or computer, and stop using their devices.

The CRC also provides parents with ways to handle a cyberbullying situation if their child is being bullied online. Some of their tips are included below:

Ensure your child is and feels safe

Talk with and listen to your child

Collect evidence, such as text messages, screenshots of conversations and photos

Work with administrators at your child's school, as all schools have a bullying policy

Do not contact the parents of the bully or bullies

Contact the police department if physical threats are made

If necessary, set up a counseling session for your child

Implement measures, such as privacy controls, to keep the incident from reoccurring

For more information on how to identify, prevent and address cyberbullying, visit www.cyberbullying.org.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding this topic or others, contact me by email at Senator.Leising@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.


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