(This article is a reprint from my Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com.)
This Tuesday evening, 6:30 p.m., St. Joseph Marello Catholic Church is hosting a parent training on Strategies for bully prevention and intervention at home and school. Free of charge and open to the public welcoming all faiths, this presentation will explore the nature of hostility youth are experiencing in the cyber social realms, feature how to recognize signs that your child may be experiencing or participating in a bully situation, and strategies for prevention and intervention at home and at school.
Bob Lyons, Ed.D, Director of Technology for Nevada Joint Union High School District, is a featured speaker on some of the signs that a child may be experiencing or participating in a bully dynamic at school. “Kids think they know more than they do about how to use technology,” he said. Indeed, use of cyber tools comes with great responsibility.
Lisa Ford Berry is the founder of B.R.A.V.E. Society, a Carmichael non-profit dedicated to teaching educators, parents and youth to make a peaceful society. She lost her youngest son, Michael Berry to suicide in 2008. It was the result of a horrific cyberbully experience that isolated and shamed him to a point where he became convinced there could be no future. “His faith was used against him,” Berry said. “Someone found out he was saving himself for marriage and decided to start a rumor that he was gay. Then a hate-based homophobic cyber-powered campaign took over, and the entire student body abandoned her son for fear that they would be the next target.” Berry’s son was an outstanding student, and had no history of mental health issues and his home was stable with proactive parents. “People need to understand that a person can be broken by the intense hostility and humiliation of hate,” she said.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2
Berry wants parents to know that bully behavior, on and off line, is peer abuse and it is learned behavior. The cyberbully problem our children experience is a call to action for parents to:
Shed fear and take an honest look at what is accepted in your home. “I taught my son all about how to be kind,” Berry said. “Looking back now I realize that I had not taught my son about how important it is to be kind to yourself because people can be incredibly cruel.” What lessons about love and civility are your children learning at home?
Become the trusted resource for your child. Your opinion and wisdom are not the same thing. “There are two simple commandments to make a peaceful society: 1) love God with all your heart, and 2) love others as yourself,” Berry said. How well do you love yourself? Are you constantly expressing critical and harsh judgments about other people and their children? What lessons do you teach about love by your own example?
Make your home a sanctuary. The children get a lot of fear and fakery in their cyber social realm. Is it safe to come home and talk openly about what your child is experiencing? Do your children hold back sharing shameful or humiliating experiences because they fear your angry response? Keep in mind that rules and boundaries are meant to be instructive. Are you willing to give people a clean slate once they have suffered the consequences of poor choices? If your child has been attacked, are you going to seek vengeance? Or justice for all?
To learn more about the bully prevention and training event, go to: Bully prevention/intervention training
ABOUT: Banana Moments Foundation is a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. The BMF mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God grants every human being intelligence and free will and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all BMF proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your Donations are greatly appreciated.
As the Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner, my personal mission is to educate and inspire parents from all walks of life and social settings to realize their inherent authority to govern the home and educate the child about their own power; the personal power that comes from the spiritual resilience of your chosen faith. And so I write for Examiner.com to express the passion of my mother heart to a diverse audience.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.