Tips for parents | February 22, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Cover Story - February 22, 2012

Tips for parents


• Tell children not to respond to rude e-mails, messages, and comments.

• Save the evidence, such as e-mail and text messages, and take screenshots of comments and images. Also, take note of the date and time the harassment occurred.

• Contact your Internet service provider (ISP) or cell phone provider. Ask the website administrator or ISP to remove any Web page created to hurt your child.

• If harassment is via e-mail, social networking sites, instant messaging or chat rooms, the child can "block" bullies or delete a current account and open a new one.

• If harassment is via text and phone messages, the phone number can be changed and shared selectively. Some phones may allow blocking a number.

• Learn your child's school's policy on cyber-bullying and urge administrators to take a stand against all bullying.

• Visit to make a report. If you feel something illegal has occurred, inform law enforcement.

From Officer Tassio

• Supervise children's Internet usage. Have the computer in a common space, not a bedroom.

• Remind children what personal information is not safe to reveal online, such as full name, full address, phone, school or city.

• Take geotags, which can show the exact location a photo was taken, off a smartphone or other GPS-enabled camera photos.

> Visit for a free program that can do this.

• Have children give you their passwords for any social networking site and review it occasionally.

• Even if you filter websites, discuss proper Internet usage in places where filters may not be in place, and which sites are off-limits.

• Remind children that anyone can see anything they post online.

• Have your children think about adults they trust in case they need to tell someone about something that is making them uncomfortable. Tell your kids "they need to come up with 10 people they can trust," Officer Tassio said. "Make sure your kids know who they can talk to."

To learn more

• has information for parents, teachers, law enforcement, and children of three ages — teens, tweens and kids. A project of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the site has interactive activities, videos, animations and lots of information.

• has information from government agencies on how to prevent or stop bullying, with sections for kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators and others and others in the community.

• has a series of articles about children and the Internet, ranging from "A Parents Guide to Facebook" to "When Schools can Discipline Off-Campus Behavior" by Larry Magid, a technology columnist for the San Jose Mercury News and other publications.

• has a forum, video library, a resource list and safety tips and advice, plus news.

• Visit to see the Pew Research Center study, "Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites," by Amanda Lenhart, Mary Madden, Aaron Smith, Kristen Purcell, Kathryn Zickuhr and Lee Raini.

• Visit to see the Pediatrics article, "Prevalence and Characteristics of Youth Sexting: A National Study."


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