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.


Kayla Fish

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Kayla joined the ABC 7 & FOX 22 news team in May of 2017. She got into journalism because she loves talking with people, and she's incredibly grateful to share the stories of Mainers throughout the region.

She got her start in broadcasting way back in middle school as a member of a morning announcements TV broadcast club, and her love for the news industry took off from there.

Kayla graduated from Penn State University in 2017 with degrees in broadcast journalism and Spanish. During her time as a student at Penn State, Kayla was an executive producer and reporter for the "Centre County Report", an Emmy award-winning student-run newscast. She studied abroad in Ronda, Spain and traveled to Panama with an international reporting class. Kayla kept busy in college, spending four years working as a student manager in the dining hall.

Kayla grew up in the village of Shawnee-on-Delaware, located in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, so transitioning into life in Vacationland was a piece of cake! A self-described winter fanatic, she loves all things snow related, including hitting the slopes on her snowboard. She also likes hiking, kayaking or doing anything outdoors. She loves meeting new people so if you see her around, be sure to stop and say hi!

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