Showing posts with label cyberbullying. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cyberbullying. Show all posts

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ensure Cyber Safety

The internet has become the first place we go when we want to communicate, do research, or even conduct business. For most of us, our time in cyberspace is increasing each day. But with breaches of information becoming more common, have you even wondered just how safe your information is online? What can you do to ensure cyber safety for you and your family members?

How can you keep your family members safe online?

Educate family members about appropriate online activity.
Monitor and stay involved in online activity.
Recognize the need for different strategies for a variety of age groups.

Why is cyber safety important?

The information you make available online may be subject to hacking and exposure to the public. Safety is crucial due to privacy issues and overall security, and prevents issues like cyberbullying.

When should you start talking with your kids about cyber safety?

It’s never too early to start discussing cyber safety. Make it an issue that’s brought up often in your household. Don’t forget that cyber safety doesn’t just apply to your children. Adults of any age, especially older adults, need to be aware of cyber safety.

Latest news regarding cyber safety:

According to a recent report, your internet searches and the health information you provide online may put you at risk of medical-related discrimination. Check out this Science Daily article for more details.
Parents are often guilty of providing too much information about their children online.  When parents put too much information about their children online, it may lead to safety and privacy risks for their children, both now and in the future. Read this article on "sharenting" to get the full picture.
Your online information may be most vulnerable when you’re traveling. From laptops left behind in hotel rooms to connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, cyber safety can be an issue once you’ve left your home.  Be aware of these issues when traveling to help ensure your safety and privacy.

Keeping your passwords secure:

Ensure the strength of your passwords by making them a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Don’t share your passwords with anyone.
Change your passwords on occasion.
Always log out of your computer and any sites you visit, especially when using a public computer.

Where can you learn more about staying safe online?

Visit sites such as iKeepSafe for valuable information on keeping your family safe online.

Do you have any suggestions for ensuring cyber safety, or any stories to share? If so, please feel free to leave a comment!

Live Healthy. Live Smart.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bullying Basics

It’s a problem that has become an epidemic, cropping up in a variety of forms. Close to 30% of students, ages 12-18, were bullied during the 2008-2009 school year, according to In addition to the potential damage this abusive behavior can do to a young person, a recent study proves there are long-term effects, as well.  But, through education, awareness and intervention, it’s possible to identify and stop bullying.

No bullying drawing

Bullying Facts:

  • Boys are more likely to engage in bullying than girls.
  • Some groups might be at higher risk of being bullied—homosexuals, those with disabilities or individuals who are socially isolated, for example.
  • The behavior isn’t just limited to students. In a school setting, bus aides, lunchroom workers and other school workers can be at risk.
  • Workplace bullying can affect adults.

Bullying is a complex issue with multiple factors, including family, peers, community and school. Often the victims of abusive behavior themselves, bullies may engage in these actions based on issues in their own lives—parental divorce, poor self esteem or difficulty in school. Without awareness and intervention, the cycle of bullying is likely to continue.

Effects of Bullying:

  • Health
  • School performance and attendance
  • Relationships with family and friends
  • Involvement in activities
  • Can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts and violence in both bullies and their victims

But, the negative effects of this destructive behavior don’t end there. In a recent study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) conducted by William Copeland, Ph.D., findings support the idea that bullying has long-lasting effects in an individual’s life. In fact, bullies and victims alike are at risk for serious psychiatric problems, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicide

The study concludes that unlike some traumas experienced early in life, the effects of bullying don’t appear to dissipate over time.  In addition, according to, childhood bullies or victims are more likely to partake in bullying behavior as adults.

Causes of Bullying:

  • Need to dominate others or feel superior
  • Lack of impulse control
  • Difficulty managing anger, anxiety and jealousy
  • Trouble tolerating others, especially those viewed as “different”

Types of Bullying:

  1. Physical—pushing, shoving
  2. Verbal—making fun of, taunting
  3. Emotional—spreading rumors, excluding from groups
  4. Cyber—bullying through social media sites such as Facebook or texting

Cyberbullying has become the most prevalent form of bullying because it allows “hiding,” anonymity for the bully.

Girl being bullied at school

Signs of a Bully:

  • Gets into physical/verbal fights
  • Has friends who bully others
  • Demonstrates increasingly aggressive behavior
  • Given detention frequently

Signs of a Victim of Bullying:

  • Has unexplained injuries
  • Suffers from frequent illness, such as headaches and stomach aches
  • Experiences difficulty in sleeping or nightmares
  • Grades start declining; doesn’t want to attend school
  • Changes in eating habits

To help stop this cycle of destructive behavior, awareness and intervention are crucial. Researchers continue to determine the best way to handle bullying; to date, the following guidelines are suggested.

How to Stop Bullying:

  • Be aware and informed.  Know the signs of bullying and don’t ignore them.
  • Speak to your children about bullying. Know what’s happening in school and with friends.
  • Know how to intervene if you witness bullying:
    • Keep calm
    • Teach kids to get adult help
    • Separate those involved
    • Get medical help or police assistance if necessary

For additional information on bullying, visit or

Kathy Rembisz 
Contributing Writer