Expert offers advice on dealing with cyber bullying trend - abc27 WHTM

Expert offers advice on dealing with cyber bullying trend

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Like many trends, a recent cyber bullying trend could be out of style before parents even know their children were a part of it.

The latest doesn't appear to have hit local schools just yet, but an expert says it is important to spread awareness and urge parents to talk to their kids about the issues.

The trend, called "shaming," involves teens using photos to offer blunt and cruel advice to their peers. Geraldine Johnson, a bullying prevention coordinator in the Cumberland Valley School District, said she hasn't seen it happening, but still she says it is crucial that parents talk to their kids about using social media the right way, rather than forbidding it.

"By banning it or saying you can't be on there anymore, what you are actually doing is getting them to be more secretive about it," Johnson said. "It's what students do these days, so we need to teach them how to do it the right way, rather than take it away from them."

Johnson offered some guidelines parents can follow when their children are setting up social media accounts. First, she said it's important to let your child know that you will be checking up on the account at any time and will read what is being said and written. Second, make sure you are controlling the privacy settings on the account. This means allowing only those your child knows and you trust to have access to the page. Third, make sure your child knows to report cyber bullying, whether it involves them or not, to you, a counselor or a teacher.

Johnson also said that parents should not try to handle cyber bullying issues with other parents. She said it is best they contact the school, or law enforcement if appropriate.

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