Talking to your Children about Cyberbullying and Suicide

In light of the recent tragic suicide of Rebecca Sedwick, after being tormented through social media from children ages 12 – 14 and the subsequent arrest of the 14 year old who has allegedly spearheaded the bullying, we at KidSafe Foundation will continue the fight of preventing such tragedies through education of both children and parents.

Are you asking yourself if this could happen to your child? Are you asking yourself if your child could be a part of a group that causes such pain to another child? These are questions that all parents need to be asking themselves – the first step in prevention is awareness. Once you understand that ALL children are vulnerable, you can better address the issues and have open ended dialogue with your children and teens.

Use this tragedy, to listen to your children. Ask them what they think and know about cyberbullying? Have them tell you the stories they hear. Don’t judge… just listen. Ask them how they feel about Rebecca committing suicide. Ask them how they think Rebecca’s mom is feeling. Tell them that no matter how terrible you might feel with challenges that will arise in life there are always people who love you, will help you and that suicide is not a choice.

Open the dialogue about cyberbullying before it becomes an issue so that if your child is struggling they will know that you can handle the topic.

So what is Cyber bullying? Harassment and bullying that takes place through any type of Technology.

Examples include:

  • Spreading rumors/gossip

  • Threatening someone via text, IM, Email, Facebook, anonymous sites, any technology

  • Hurtful comments, threats and rumors through Social networking sites

  • Stealing passwords

    • Sexting

What can teens and parents do?

  • Do not respond to messages that are hurtful, rude, or offensive

  • Don’t retaliate

  • Save messages that could be used by law enforcement as evidence.

  • Teens – Talk to your trusted adults – these issues are complicated and adults need to give you support and guidance to get through it successfully

    • Teens (and adults) If you see it happening to someone else –  be an up stander, not a bystander

  • Block the bully

  • If anything makes you uncomfortable or confused. REPORT!!!

  • Use strong passwords and keep them confidential even from your best friend.

  • Report Bullying to the Authorities – both the school as well as the police.

Please share this information with family, friends and your community. The more we talk openly about the dangers and how to combat them, the safer our children will be.

For more information www.kidsafefoundation.org

Testimonials

"Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be included in the KidSafe program. I highly recommend this program to other schools. We hope that we will be given the same opportunity for our Kindergarten and 2nd grade students to be a part of this wonderful program during the 2016-2017 school year."

Mrs. Keelyn Meselsohn 2nd Grade Teacher/Team Leader Tradewinds Elementary School

"The Safe and Smart Series Book My Body Is Special and Belongs To Me is kept in my middle school clinic and has been a tool that has opened many conversations for me between students that have experienced a difficult situation and were unable to talk about it. Through the illustrations and nonjudgmental verbiage the author has allowed kids permission to share their feelings about invasion of their personal space. Thank you so much."

Nurse Connie, PBC School Nurse 6.8.2016

"I'm so grateful that KidSafe has partnered with my daughter's school.  I learned so much in the parent training--how to recognize potential sexual predator behavior; how to quiz my child about what they would do in different scenarios; and how to explain safe and unsafe touch.  In addition, knowing that my daughter is receiving weekly trainings on these topics gives me great peace of mind.  I have confidence that I can reinforce what she is learning in school in order to prevent her from ever being a victim of such a heinous crime.  Thank you KidSafe for your dedication to protecting our communities' most vulnerable citizens."

Christina Kranick

“It was a normal Saturday and I was at the rink with my 7 and 8 year old. My son asked me if he could use the Men’s Restroom by himself.  Without hesitation, my daughter said,  Absolutely not! I was in KidSafe today and you cannot go to the restroom alone.  It is very important that Mommy is with you.. with us.   I was so proud of my little girl!  We are so blessed to have Debbie Miller at our school teaching our children the importance of safety. Many thanks to you all!  Your program and instruction is absolutely amazing.  Keep up the great work!"  

Tara Henley Admissions Assistant, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and School, Ft. Lauderdale

I am a parent of two Pine Crest children and I attended your program on Monday night. I just wanted to thank you so very much for the very informative seminar. As hard as it was to hear all of those things, it was very needed. We were thrilled that you were able to come and share that very important information with us and our children. So again...thank you.

Elisa Aronberg

Today’s training was awesome! It was very informative. Sally was a very good resource, she motivated us a lot! We want to pass on this information to parents, teachers and students! Thank you for offering workshops like this. These are tools we use to continue serving our children and families.

Participant from Children’s Services Council of Broward Seminar

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