This is a new age of technology. One that opens a doorway to transferring information through mobile devices and computers. Texting, sending video and photos through cell phones and uploading private information to Facebook are as common as ordering a latte from Starbucks. Just the same, the abuse of such technologies is becoming equally as common, especially among our youth. Words like “sexting” and “Cyber Bullying” are becoming more common terms. More and more of our teens are falling victim to this harassment and humiliation.
According to www.safetyweb.com, 75% of teens and 71% of adults agree that the risks are high when sending sexually explicit content, and can have serious consequences. Even so, 39% of teens and 59% of young adults have sent or posted sexually suggestive e-mails or text messages, and 20% of teens and 33% of young adults have sent and/or posted nude or semi-nude images of themselves. What’s more shocking is that 46% of young adults, and 38% of teens admit it is common that these nude or semi-nude photos are shared with people other than the intended recipient.
“Sexting”, as defined by www.safetyweb.com is:
“the act of sending a provocative video, photo or text that is sent to another receipt that is a current or prospective girlfriend or boyfriend.” Sometimes it can be sent to the wrong person by accident or on purpose. Whether deliberate or not, this causes the victim to suffer humiliation and is a serious violation of their personal privacy. With a simple click on your phone, any form of media can be sent to all of your contacts in your address book, instantly.
“Cyber Bullying” , also described by www.safetyweb.com , is defined as:
“the act of bullying online. This type of bullying can consist of any of the following actions committed by an individual or group to another individual group: threats of violence, hate speech, harassment, peer pressure, bribery, psychological abuse, and extortion.”
The following are useful guidelines to protect your teen, and help them understand the consequences of Sexting and Cyber Bullying:
Before sending a sexually explicit text, ask yourself these questions:
* Think about the consequences of taking, sending, or
forwarding a sexual picture of someone underage, even if it’s of you. You
could get kicked off of sports team, face humiliation, lose educational
opportunities, and even get in trouble with the law.
*Never take images of yourself that you wouldn’t want everyone—your
classmates, your teachers, your family, or your employers—to see.
*Before hitting send, remember that you can’t control where this
image may travel. What you send to a boyfriend or girlfriend could easily
end up with their friends, and their friends, and their friends…
*If you forward a sexual picture of someone underage, you are
as responsible for this image as the original sender. You could face child
pornography charges, go to jail, and have to register as a sex offender.
*Report any nude pictures you receive on your cell phone to an
adult you trust. Do not delete the message. Instead, get your parents or
guardians, teachers, and school counselors involved immediately.
Tips provided by: www.netsmartz.org
To help prevent Cyber Bullying:
*Never give out passwords, PIN’s, etc. (even to your best friend)
*Keep personal information to yourself
*Never send out messages or comments to others while you are angry, even if it’s not at them
*Don’t stay online all the time. There is a difference between virtual reality and actual reality.
Don’t reply to cyber-bullies
*If you’ve been bullied, don’t keep it to yourself, inform someone you trust, even if it’s not a parent, tell a teacher.
*Don’t delete the messages from a cyber-bully, if you delete it, you can’t track it. So your bully cannot be punished.
*Don’t meet people you’ve met online in person.
Tips provided by: http://www.girl.com.au/cyber-bullying-prevention-tips-for-agers.htm
Above all, protect yourself. Parents know what your kids are doing online. The internet is a valuable tool, one that can very easily be abused.