Hello and welcome to National Bullying Awareness Week – November 16-22!
It’s an opportune time to address the impact of digital technology. As these technologies become increasingly accessible to our youth, harmful and dangerous behaviours that were once most prevalent on school grounds are now moving into even more public forums.
Through digital tools such as Ask.fm and Communet, students are being bullied anonymously and in a very public and devastating way. These forms of cyberbullying can severely impact a student’s self-esteem and have been shown to lead to severe depression and/or anxiety that can impact all areas of their lives. In addition, students are sharing photos (including inappropriate and revealing pictures), personal contact information and even current location information.
We in FSD take these issues very seriously. Not only is the safety of our students – your children – paramount, building healthy relationships is core to our vision. If you are concerned that your child may be a victim of cyberbullying, or may be engaging in risky or bullying behaviours, please contact your school administration. They can connect you and your child with support and resources.
Here are some helpful tips to address these issues with your children:
1. Talk to your child:
- Ask them which social networks they belong to;
- If they have a phone, tablet or other personal device, discuss which apps they have installed and what they are used for;
- If they are using a cell phone that you are contractually supporting, talk to them about the legal implications of inappropriate content on an adult-owned device.
2. Ask your child to share their passwords with you.
3. Require your child to “friend” or “+1″ you – or another trusted adult, if they’re reluctant – on their social networks.
4. If you suspect that your child is either participating in these behaviours or being bullied, you can search services such as Ask.fm via Google. For example, enter site:ask.fm (your child’s name) and Google will search for this information. If your child has posted or has been posted about, this information will display.
Additional resources and tips to have these conversations with your children can be found at: http://www.fsd38.ab.ca/online-safety-resources/.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s school or me email@example.com.