While cyberbullying remains a prominent issue in society, many are looking into early education and communication as a way to reduce long-term cyberbullying.
Education initiatives are some of the most useful tools for law enforcement in combating bullying and promoting safety on the internet. Montgomery County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office investigator Steven Sprague believes that it is necessary to demonstrate to Internet users the dangers of online bullying.
“We try to get across to kids that if you take a picture or video you wouldn’t want your parents to see, then you shouldn’t share it with anyone,” Sprague said. “It’s so easy to screen capture things and once that happens it’s out there forever.”
Parents play a major role in ensuring the online safety of their children. Communication between parents and children is essential; guidelines for computer use, monitoring online activity, and understanding the programs used by children will help spot potential cases of cyberbullying early on.
“We tell youngsters to talk to their parents if they see something online that makes them uncomfortable,” said Sprague. “We tell them never to tell anyone their name, their phone number or their address and to never meet face-to-face with someone they’ve met. They should go straight to their parents if someone does ask to meet them in person.”
Communication is key if the goal is for children to talk to their parents of something on the Internet is bothering them. Children must be comfortable talking to parents and expressing their feelings.