As school edges closer, ways for parents to combat cyber bullying


BANGOR - "The internet is public, anonymous and immortal," said Mark Allen, M.D., Medical Director of Inpatient Pediatric Psychiatry at Acadia Hospital.

Kids don't take a break from the internet during the summer. But once school starts, it's likely they'll be online more often, meaning parents should be more aware of the dangers of cyber bullying.

"Cyber bullying is wide spread, it hits every age and culture," Allen said. "Roughly 20% of high school students are victims of cyber bullying."

AT&T recently launched a nationwide campaign to help combat the issue.

"It's important that we're part of this and we have a say in educating parents and kids," said Jesse Doody of AT&T.

The company says a major factor in the spread of cyber bullying comes from the increase in types of media.

"You can do it from a cell phone, from a tablet, from a computer," Doody said. "Pretty much anywhere you go now you're connected."

But psychiatrists say parental supervision is the key to stopping it.

"Stop bullying campaigns are wonderful but the actual implementation, the actual doing of the stopping is really on the parent or guardian to step in and be very involved in their kids life," Allen said.

This could mean being friends with your child on social media, or even knowing their passwords.

"I'm sure your kid is like, 'woah I don't want my parents having the password to my accounts' but the fact is, you really should. You really should know what they're doing online," said Allen.

And if you see cyber bullying occurring, don't just delete or ignore it. Dr. Allen suggests bringing proof of it to the school.

"They can actually do things there that you can't necessarily do as a family, and they can maybe address it with other families," Allen said.


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