Experts Talk Cyber Bullying in Duluth
Posted at: 03/05/2013 10:19 PM
| Updated at: 03/05/2013 10:45 PM
By: Travis Dill
Cyber bullying is a growing issue for kids and parents in the digital age. Local experts got the message out at an educational meeting on Tuesday.
Parent Debbie Davis attended the meeting at Amberwing in Duluth. She said it is hard to know how to handle cyber bullying when one keystroke can send a message out to an entire school.
“So things that get put on a text or Facebook can be sent out to everyone, and I think there's less control of trying to prevent it,” Davis said.
She and nearly 30 others attended the meeting to learn more about the issue. Experts like Maude Dornfeld said digital abuse is a problem in teenage dating as well.
“Cyber bullying and digital dating abuse which are both ways that kids use technology to basically make other kids' lives pretty miserable,” Dornfeld said.
Dornfeld is the Education Coordinator at Safe Haven Shelter. She said this problem is more common than people think, one in three children will be cyber bullied.
And she said the kids are unlikely to tell parents about it.
“Unfortunately kids can be really reluctant to share this problem with their parents because they're afraid their parents will take away their technology or will intervene in a way that's actually not very helpful,” Dornfeld said.
She said declining grades can be a warning sign, along with kids getting upset when they receive messages.
Dornfeld wanted parents to have the information because the digital abuse can be so damaging.
“They can't find a place to get away from it, to escape from it. And instead of just having an audience of your peers at school this can virtually be an audience of the entire world. So it just makes the whole problem so much larger,” Dornfeld said.
She said when the stakes are that high the problem can lead to suicide. She said the solution starts with parents becoming more aware of the issues.
Dornfeld said ignoring the cyber bully is the best approach, but she recommended keeping evidence of the digital abuse in case it needs to be reported.