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Say No to Cyber-Bullying

MCAPP News Release

Before the Internet, bullying ended when you removed yourself from the environment you were in. Nowadays, the bullying dynamic is harder to contain and harder to ignore, even on Molokai. While sexual solicitation and unwanted exposure to sexual material online are often cited as the key online danger for youth, cyber-bullying or online harassment has become a serious concern as well. At Molokai Child Abuse Prevention Pathways (MCAPP), we are helping to educate and prevent cyber-bullying on Molokai.

While cyber-bullying covers a range of behaviors, sexual harassment is key among them. Gender harassment, body rating, sexual putdowns and sexual rumors have moved beyond the schoolyard, hallways or cafeteria and into wide range of social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The anonymity of social media, combined with the incredible speed and reach achieved by the click of a mouse or touch of a screen from mobile devices, have made this form of sexual harassment particularly devastating for our youth of today.

The obviousness of cyber-bullying has huge consequences not just for children and youth but also for adults. While workplace bullying is still a new field of study, adults seem to experience bullying just as much as kids do. Ask yourself if adults are experiencing it just as much as kids, where do you think they are picking this type of behavior up from?

The example we set for our keiki is critical. Each day, we are modeling behavioral expectations for our keiki, whether we realize it or not. “Do what I say, not as I do,” just doesn’t work when it comes to effective role modeling, no matter how often we might wish it were true. As parents, guardian, adults, teachers, coaches and community members, we need to realize that our behaviors and action impact our keiki more then we realize.

Educating young people about the dangers of online communications is a critical step in reducing the risk of victimization by online sexual predators and cyber-bullies, and increasing the likelihood that those victimized will tell a parent or other concerned adult. Here are a few things that you could do:

  • Talk with your child and develop open communication.
  • Educate yourself. Search online for anything you don’t understand.
  • Use parental control. Monitor your kids use and time online.
  • Set ground rules and apply them — rules are not effective if they’re not applied.
  • Talk it out with other parents. It’s always helpful in gaining ideas and understanding on how approach youth by talking it out with others.

Let’s take action against cyber-bullying.

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