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November 01, 2012

Bullies Beware, 'Bout to be Busted

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor

Cyber bulling is defined as a form of violence whether it is physical, mental or emotional that can forever change the course of life for adolescents ranging from sending nasty messages either through a smartphone or via e-mail to posting mean spirited information on social networking sites like Facebook (News - Alert) that were created with the sole intention of damaging one’s psyche.

Recent statistics from the i-SAFE foundation highlight that half of all children and teens have been bullied online or have bullied someone via the Internet in their short lifetime, more than one in three young people have suffered the effects from cyber threats online, and nearly half of that age group doesn’t even inform their parents about what is going on.

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Instead of keeping those in a position that can actually help you in the dark, instead we need to turn on the light—the spotlight that is—and out these nasty kids for what they are. And that is exactly what seems to be happening in the land down under, or the country known as Australia. Beginning next year, throughout the state of Queensland, schools can utilize a social media monitoring program that can be leveraged on all school-issued laptops. Basically, the way it works is it screens out keywords like “ugly” and “pornographic” and then sends reports to principals. 

This initiative was kick started at a time in which multiple websites and posts are being either shut down or deleted by a special cyber safety team within the Department of Education, Training and Employment. According to a recent article, the team of has already dealt with nearly 278 incidents of bullying, a number which rose from 212 just last year.

Department Director-General, Julie Grantham, said in a statement, "The Department recently undertook technical trials with a Brisbane-based company that provides a supplementary social media monitoring product. The schools involved in the trial found the product easy to manage and informative about student usage patterns and inappropriate use."

While products like this will continue to be introduced to the market in an attempt to protect the next generation, as a parent it is also your responsibility to remain fully involved in every aspect of your child’s life. Don’t let them browse the Web without being constantly monitored first of all, as there are some pretty creepy things and even scarier people out there in cyber space. In addition, if you notice a change in their attitude, no matter how busy your day is, be sure to sit down and take the time to chat with them about anything that may be bothering them. After all, this could be the vital element that ultimately not only saves your child’s life, but puts these bullies in their place on and for all.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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