Resources for Kids, Tweens & Teens
Bullying ~ Cyberbullying ~ Sexting
What is bullying?
Bullying is an aggressive behavior that is intentional and involves an imbalance of power or strength. Bullying is repeated over time and can take many forms, such as hitting, punching, or shoving (physical bullying); teasing, taunting, name-calling or sexual remarks (verbal bullying); intimidation using gestures, spreading rumors or social exclusion (nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying.)
Effects of bullying: Bullying can have serious consequences. Children and youth who are bullied are more likely than other children to:
- Loss of interest in school and extracurricular activities
- Frequent complaints of illness to avoid attending school
- Sudden decrease in academic performance
- Unexplained bruises, scratches, and cuts
- Seems afraid of going to school, riding the bus, walking to school, or taking part in organized activities with peers
- Seems sad, moody, or depressed
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Anxiety or low self-esteem
- Suicidal thoughts or ideations
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is typically referred to as “ a communication or posting by one or more people using cybertechnology or digital media designed to hurt, threaten, embarrass, annoy, blackmail or otherwise target another person.” Cyberbullying can involve text, gaming devices, Internet, instant messaging (IM-ing) or images. Sometimes, largely because they feel that they are anonymous people do things online that they would never dream of doing in real life. These range from rude conduct and lewd language (“flaming”), to insults, defamation and bullying (“cyberbullying”), to creating fear (“harassment”), to credible threats of actual harm offline (“cyberstalking”).
What is Sexting?
Sexting is the sending or posting of nude or partially nude images of minors. Youth who sext may face charges of producing, possessing and/or distributing child pornography. 1 in 5 teens (13-19) reported having sent a sexually suggestive image or message to another person.
The fact is that many teens and tweens do not understand the consequences of sending sexually explicit messages or images. They may not understand that electronic images are forever, or that the people they trust with their messages and images may not be equally trustworthy. They also may not understand the social and personal consequences of sexting. Teens found engaging in indecent behavior can lose scholarships, sports team membership, and face humiliation. Sexually explicit pictures can also follow them throughout their lives. A teen who fully understands these consequences will be less likely to engage in risky sexting behavior.
- Bullying Tips
Bullying: Tips for StudentsIf you are being bullied . . . Reach Out
Tell a trusted adult (parents, teacher, counselor, coaches, principal) or have your parents talk to your school. Sometimes you may have to tell more than one trusted adult. Ask your friends to help you. There is safety in numbers. Practice what to say the next time you're bullied with your parents, teachers or friends.
- Be Cool in the Moment ~ A lot of bullying comes as a result of the reactions you give bullies when they push your buttons. If they find that they can elicit a response from you, they will continue to bully you. So, learn to keep your emotions off your face, so that they give up and move on.
- Stand up to them ~ This does not mean bully back, it just means that you shouldn't put up with it. Let them know that you will tell on them, that you aren't going to just take it, and that you aren't afraid to get them in trouble. Usually bullies pick on kids who are too weak or too frightened to ever get them in trouble.
- Avoid the bully ~ Sometimes bullies will bully out of opportunity more than anything else. So, avoid places, situations, times, and people that may lead to you being bullied.
- Tell someone ~ There is a difference between tattling and telling. If you just tell to get them in trouble you are a tattle, but if you tell because they pose a danger to you or your friends, tell on them.
- Be brave ~ You can't show a bully that you are afraid of them, or the bullying will get worse. If you fear standing up to them, fear telling on them, and fear interaction with them, and let them know it, you empower them. So, instead, work on that mask of indifference, and avoid them when possible.
- Work the buddy system ~ Bullies tend to single out kids who are already singled out, who are alone. It is far easier for one kid to pick on one kid, than one kid to pick on two. So, have a buddy when you are in situations where you might run into the bully.
- Confront them ~ It is important that if they bully you, you call them out on it. Ask them what their problem is, why they are picking on you, and make sure they know you are the victim. Sometimes recognizing that they are making someone a victim will give them a wakeup call, and get them to stop.
- Report it every time ~ If it happens at school, tell the teacher, lunch lady, hall monitor, school counselor, or whomever you need to make sure it gets stopped.
Change the School Community . . .
Work with others to stop bully behavior; your whole school will benefit.
Remember: A lot of kids have to cope with bullying. You are not alone. No one deserves to be bullied.
- If you witness bullying . . . Interrupt It ~ Stand next to, or speak up for the person being bullied. Ask the bully to stop. Comfort the person being bullied, try to take them away from the situation and offer friendship.
- Get Help ~ Walk away, get help and find an adult who can intervene. Many times students don’t want to get involved for fear that they will be the next target of the bully or be tagged as a snitch. If this is the case, try to go with a few students to talk about the situation or see if your school has a private reporting system in place to report bullying.
If you are the bully . . . Make a Commitment to Change
Talk to an adult, like a teacher or parent, about how to get along with others. Apologize to the kids you have bullied.
- Focus on Empathy and Responsibility ~ Think about what it feels like to be bullied -- would you want to be treated that way? Before you speak, think about whether your words will help or hurt another student.
- Change Your Behavior ~ Resist peer pressure to bully. If you start to bully, walk away and find something else to do. Remember: You don't have to like everyone around you, but you have to treat everyone with respect.
Ask yourself these questions
Peer Pressure and Bystanders
- Have you ever felt pressure to bully someone or to join in bullying with others? What thoughts did you consider before you made the decision to be part of the bullying or not to be part of it? How did you ultimately respond?
- How do you think someone feels when he or she is being bullied? Have you ever seen someone being bullied? What, if anything, did you do? Would you do anything differently if you are in that situation in the future?
- What do you think the role of a bystander should be in a bullying situation? As a bystander, what response are you most comfortable with? Would you help someone who is the target of bullying behavior? If so, how? If not, what would prevent you from helping? What do you think might happen if no one helps the target of a bully
Responding to Bullying
- Have you ever been the target of bullying behavior? If so, how did it make you feel? How did you respond? Do you think there were other ways that you could have responded? Why did you choose the response that you did?
- What is your personal plan of action if you are bullied or see someone being bullied? Is there a staff member at school who will help you if you want to report bullying behavior that you witness or experience? Who else might you talk to about it?
Friendship and Respect
- What are your thoughts on friendship? What is more important to you: having a lot of friends or having a few good friends? How do you decide who your friends are? How do you decide to treat others who are not friends of yours?
- How would you explain "respect"? Is it possible to respect a person but not like that person? Do you think that respect for others is important? Why or why not?
- What could you do to set an example of respect? How might your respect for others benefit you? How might an atmosphere of mutual respect impact a class, a school and a community?
Don't Suffer in Silence
There's always a Helping Hand . . . Tell Someone!
Click here to close "Bullying Tips"
- Why Bullies Act That Way
Have you ever heard these comments about Bullying!
- Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me.
- It is good for you. It toughens you up.
- Fight your own battles. Don’t tell tales.
- Ignore it and it will go away. You must be doing something to bring it on yourself.
- Come on! Stick up for yourself. You won’t always have us around to stick up for you.
- I was bullied and it never did me any harm.
- You’ve got to be tough to survive in this world. You’ve got to take care of yourself.
- I never interfere in difficulties between children. They have to learn to sort out problems between themselves.
- Boys will be Boys!
- Girls will be girls!
- Grow Up
Being bullied is never easy, it can make you feel very powerless, alone, isolated, and fearful. Did you know that you can stop bullies? Bullies are a BIG problem . . . but you have the power to stop them!
So Why Do Bullies Act That Way?
Have you ever noticed that bullies usually threaten or hurt other kids when no adults are around to see them do it.
Some bullies are looking for attention. They might think bullying is a way to be popular or to get what they want. Most bullies are trying to make themselves feel more important. When they pick on someone else, it can make them feel big and powerful.
Some bullies come from families where everyone is angry and shouting all the time. They may think that being angry, calling names, and pushing people around is a normal way to act. Some bullies are copying what they've seen someone else do. Some have been bullied themselves.
Sometimes bullies know that what they are doing or saying hurts other people. But other bullies may not really know how hurtful their actions can be. Most bullies don't understand or care about the feelings of others.
Bullies often pick on someone they think they can have power over. They might pick on kids who get upset easily or who have trouble sticking up for themselves. Getting a big reaction out of someone can make bullies feel like they have the power they want. Sometimes bullies pick on someone who is smarter than they are or different from them in some way. Sometimes bullies just pick on a kid for no reason at all.
Most kids don’t like watching another kid get bullied. When one kid sees another being bullied, he or she can feel scared and powerless . . . that doesn’t have to be! You can be the change and help others.Click here to close "Why Bullies Act That Way"
How to Socialize Safely
How to Socialize Safely Online
Protect Privacy: Keep personal information personal. Never give out your social security number, address, phone number, or family financial information like bank and credit card account numbers. Remember that sharing information about other people in the family or about their friends can harm them. Be cautious about sharing other information too, like the name of your school, sports teams, or hobbies, where you work or hang out, or any other information that can be used to identify or locate you offline.
User Name Savvy: Ensure user names do not reveal too much personal information. It is inappropriate and dangerous for anyone to use his/her name or home town as their user name. Although having a user name gives one the feeling of anonymity, most user names made up of personal information are easily deciphered leading perpetrators to a student's identity and location.
World’s Largest Billboard: Post only information that is appropriate for the entire public. The Internet is the world’s largest billboard—anyone can see individual web pages, including teachers, law enforcement officials, college or university admissions officers, or potential employers. What is posted on a website today may be harmful in the future.
Minimize Negative Publicity: Students should be aware that posting inappropriate photos can lead to damaged reputations and unwanted attention from others. It is important for students to consider the ramifications of posting visual content online by using Web cams, videos, and camera phones. Posting inappropriate visual content such as explicit photos can attract individuals who have bad intentions towards the user, putting them at risk. In addition, it can lead to suspension or expulsion from school, law enforcement involvement or legal action.
No ‘Take Backs’: Remember that once information is posted online and deleted or modified, the original will never be completely deleted. Even if information is deleted from a website, older versions exist on others' computers.
Don’t Talk to Strangers: Be careful about adding strangers to IM Buddy or friend lists―people are not always who they say they are. A friend is someone you know well and can trust. The online world has blurred the meaning and definition of a friend. It is important to understand the difference—if individuals cannot provide solid information as to how they know a person, decide if the person should be included in their IM buddy or friend lists. If you do not approve, delete the user name and block that user.
Flirting with Danger: Virtual individuals can easily lie about their identity while they are online and it is impossible to verify their true identity. You can give the wrong impression when flirting with a real stranger as with an online stranger.
Go with Your Gut: Teach ‘trust your gut.’ If anyone feels threatened or uncomfortable by someone or something online, he/she needs to tell the educator or another trusted adult who will know whether or not to report an incident to law enforcement and your Internet service provider. Having students speak up can prevent someone else from becoming a victim.
Cyber Strangers vs. Physical Strangers: Online friends should not be met offline. Strangers in the online world pose a threat as much as strangers in the physical world. If educators or parents allow students to physically meet up with virtual friends, adults should chaperone the meeting. Never let them go alone—not even with a friend.
Don’t Accept Unsolicited Mail/Unmarked Packages: Students do not click on links or download attachments in emails from strangers or emails they are not expecting. Emails from unknown individuals may contain viruses or spyware that could damage computers and steal personal information—including money from bank accounts. Some viruses can “spoof” the name and email address of friends and fool individuals into thinking the message is from someone known.Click here to close "How to Socialize Safely"
Commonly Used Computer Terms
Commonly Used Computer & Internet Definitions
- Address - A series of letters and numbers that identify a location. On the internet, typing in an address lets you send or receive information from specific sources. You can type in the address for an e-mail account, web site, or network.
- Blacklisting Software - A form of filtering that blocks only sites specified as harmful. You can add and remove sites from this "no-go" list. This method of filtering allows for more full use of the internet, but is less efficient at preventing access to harmful material that is not on the list.
- Blocking Software - Computer programs that block access to web sites or other services available over the internet.
- Blog (short for web log) - A web log is usually defined as a personal or noncommercial web site that uses a dated log format (usually with the most recent at the top of the page) and contains links to other web sites along with commentary about those sites. A web log is updated frequently and sometimes groups links by specific subjects, such as politics, news, pop culture, or computers.
- Bookmark - A way to quickly access a favorite web site by saving it in your browser.
- Browser - A program that allows users to view web pages. Netscape® Navigator and Microsoft® Internet Explorer are examples of popular browsers.
- Bulletin Board Service (BBS) - A place where people can post messages on a particular topic.
- Bulletin Boards/Wikis - An electronic message center. Most bulletin boards serve specific interest groups. They allow you to dial in with a modem; review messages left by others, and post your own messages. Bulletin Boards are a particularly good place to find free or inexpensive software products. In the United States alone, there are tens of thousands of Bulletin Board Systems.
- CD-ROM - It stands for "compact-disk, read-only memory." It is a type of disk that has a lot of memory. Many computer games that you buy come on CD-ROM to be put into your CD-ROM drive. You can also save information to a CD-ROM in order to load it onto a different computer.
- Chat - Real-time communication over the internet. You type and send messages that appear almost instantly on the computer monitors of the other people who are participating in the chat.
- Chatroom - An interactive forum where you can talk in real-time. The chatroom is the place or location online where the chat is taking place. Many chatrooms are established so that people can discuss a common interest like music or movies.
- Cookie - A small file that is downloaded by some web sites to store a packet of information on your browser. These packets include information such as login or registration identification, user preferences, and online "shopping-cart" information. Your browser saves the information and sends it back when you return to that web site. Cookies can be used to customize the display you see through the browser or keep track of the different pages within the site that you visited. You can configure your browser to alert you when a cookie is being sent. You can refuse to accept cookies or erase all cookies saved on your browser.
- Cyber-bullying - sending or posting harmful or cruel text or images using the internet or other digital communication devices.
- Cyberspace - Refers to all the computer networks on the internet. The term distinguishes the physical world from the virtual or computer-based world.
- Cyberstalking/Harassment - Terms that can refer to the online enticement of children; rude or threatening messages; slanderous information; or repeated, unwanted messages.
- Discussion Group - A group of people who exchange information about a common topic.
- Domain Name - A name given to the numerical or internet Protocol (IP) address of a web site. A Domain Name Service (DNS) assigns domain names and translates the domain name to the IP address of the site.
- Download - Putting information on your computer. You can download information from the internet, discs or CDs, and other computers.
- E-Mail (electronic mail) - A service that allows people to send messages with pictures and sounds from their computer to any other computer in the world. To send someone an e-mail message you need an e-mail account and to know the other person's e-mail address.
- Emoticons - Animated faces that express different emotions you can send in e-mails, chat, and Instant Messaging. Emoticons are a way to show someone online how you are feeling.
- File-Sharing Programs - Programs that allow many different users to access the same file at the same time. These programs are usually used to illegally download music and software.
- Filtering Software - Different methods to screen unwanted internet content including whitelisting, blacklisting, monitoring activity, keyword recognition, or blocking-specific functions such as e-mail or Instant Messages.
- Firewall - This is a system that creates a special "wall" used by network servers to separate their Intranet from the internet. It keeps out unwanted information like spam and viruses and unwanted people like hackers.
- Flaming - Sending a deliberately confrontational message to others on the internet.
- Flash - Refers to Macromedia Flash™. This is a program that allows you to create animated content for your web page. To be able to see Flash content you must have this program on your computer.
- Gamer - Someone who plays online or computer games.
- Hacker - A popular term for someone who accesses computer information either legally or illegally.
- Hard Copy - This is the printed/paper copy of a file from your computer.
- Hardware - Components that help a computer work such as the keyboard, monitor, and electrical parts.
- History - A list of web sites the people using a particular computer have visited. Viewing the history can be used to monitor what sites your children have visited.
- Homepage - The web page that your browser is set to use when it starts up, or the main page of any web site.
- Hyperlinks - An image or a portion of text that, when clicked, allows electronic connections. These connections access other internet materials such as images, sounds, animations, videos, or other web pages.
- Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) - The coded format language used for creating documents on the world wide web and controlling how web pages appear.
- Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) - The standard method computers use to communicate via the world wide web.
- Icons - Small pictures that represent the programs on your computer.
- ICQ - A program that allows users to communicate with other users in real time. Users can be alerted when other ICQ users have logged onto the program. ICQ allows users to chat, Instant-Message, send files, and play games.
- Inbox - A file that holds and lists the e-mail you receive.
- Instant Messaging (IM) - A service that allows people to send and get messages almost instantly. To send messages using Instant Messaging you need to download an Instant-Messaging program and know the Instant-Messaging address of another person who uses the same Instant-Messaging program.
- Internet - A network of millions of computers from all over the world. The internet allows computers to trade information using telephone lines, fiber-optic cables, and satellite links. It is also referred to as the "Net."
- Internet Relay Chat (IRC) - A system that enables people online to join in live discussions, allowing people to engage in real-time chat. IRC is like a CB radio for the internet. Internet Relay Chat is a virtual meeting place where people from all over the world can meet and talk.
- Internet Service Provider (ISP) - A company that provides internet access to customers.
- Intranet - A private network inside a company or an organization.
- Java - A computer language allowing you to create programs that can be viewed on the internet.
- Java Applet - A program written in Java that allows your browser to display active content.
- Keyboard - A computer attachment with keys that you use to enter information into the computer.
- Keyword - The word(s) you use when looking for information within a search engine.
- Listservs - A system that allows users to send e-mail to one address where their message is then copied and sent to all of the other subscribers to the listserv.
- Modem - A hardware device that allows computers to communicate with each other by transmitting signals over telephone lines enabling what is called "dial-up access." Modems come in different speeds. The higher the speed, the faster the data transmission.
- Monitor - Like your television, the monitor allows you to see the information that you are accessing.
- Monitoring Software - Software products that allow parents to monitor or track the web sites or e-mail messages that a child visits or reads.
- Mouse - A computer attachment that allows you to move the cursor and select links on your computer screen.
- Mouse Trapping - A commonly used technique by pornography sites where a user gets "locked" in a web site. While surfing the internet it is possible to click a web site and have multiple undesirable web sites open. When this happens, you often cannot close or back out of the sites and must close your web browser completely.
- MP3 - A digital music file. MP3s allow you to play music on your computer.
- Multimedia - A combination of different types of programs that allow you to see graphics, animation, and text.
- Navigate - The act of moving from page to page and web site to web site online. It is also called browsing or surfing.
- Netiquette - Courtesy, honesty, and polite behavior practiced on the internet.
- Network - A network is created when computers are connected, allowing people to share information. The internet is an example of a large network.
- Newsgroups - Virtual message boards or discussion groups that are subject-specific on the internet. Participants in a newsgroup conduct discussions by posting messages for others to read and respond to the messages posted by others. It's like a community bulletin board where you can post and read messages.
- Offline - Refers to not being connected to the internet.
- Online - Another way to describe having access to the internet or actively using the internet.
- Online Grooming - Using the internet to manipulate and gain trust of a minor as a first step towards the future sexual abuse, production, or exposure of that minor. Sometimes involves developing the child’s sexual awareness and may take days, weeks, months, or some cases years to manipulate the minor.
- Outbox - This is where all of the messages that you send are kept. It can also be called a "Sent" folder.
- Password - The secret word you use when signing onto the internet or an online service that helps to confirm your identity.
- Pharming - An online scam that attacks the browser's address bar. Users type in what they think is a valid web-site address and are unknowingly redirected to an illegitimate site that steals their personal information.
- Phishing - An online scam that uses e-mail to "fish" for users' private information by imitating legitimate companies. People are lured into sharing user names, passwords, account information or credit-card numbers. The phishing e-mail usually contains a link to an illegitimate site. Scammers copy the look of a web site to set up a nearly identical page, one that appears to be part of that company's site.
- Piracy - Illegally copying copyrighted software, music, or movies.
- Plug-in - A program that extends the capabilities of your browser. It is software that you download in order to listen to sounds or view visual effects on your browser.
- Podcast - an audio show that is broadcast over the web. Users can listen to these shows on a digital music player or a computer. Podcasts can include talk shows, music, or other types of audio.
- Post - To leave a message on a newsgroup or bulletin board.
- Query - A request for information about a certain topic. A query is what you put in the box when you type something into a search engine.
- Real Time - Refers to being in the present time on the internet. It is similar to being live on television.
- RealOne - A software that allows you to "stream" media.
- Screen - The part of the monitor where the images appear.
- Scroll - The act of moving up and down on a specific page.
- Search Engine - A program that searches information on the world wide web by looking for specific keywords and returns a list of information found on that topic.
- Server - A special software package that connects to a network and provides data. The computer that this software runs on is also often called the server.
- Social Networking Site - A social networking site is a web site specifically focused on the building and verifying of social networks for whatever purpose. Many social networking services are also blog hosting services. As of 2005, there are over three hundred known social networking web sites
- Soft Copy - This is the electronic version of a file on your computer.
- Software - Programs that help your computer work. For example a filter is a type of software that can keep unwanted internet content off of your computer.
- Spam - Unwanted e-mail from someone you don't know. It is usually trying to sell you something.
- Spamming - Mass mailings sent as Instant Messages to users. Often these can feature links to explicit porn sites.
- Streaming (Media) - The exchange of video clips, sound, or other types of media over the internet. It is a way for the user to quickly download these files.
- Surf - To search for information on the web in a random, non-linear way.
- Temporary internet Files - A folder on your computer that will tell you every site that your child has visited, unless they have learned to delete these files. Every time you open a web page, your computer saves a copy of that site's files and graphics in your "temporary internet files" folder. The amount of files can build up and make your computer run slow. You may want to periodically review this folder and delete the files.
- Transmission Control Protocol/internet Protocol (TCP/IP) - The protocols or conventions that computers use to communicate over the internet.
- Trusted Adult - Someone who will help protect you and make you safer. Trusted adults can be people like family members, caregivers, family friends, teachers, counselors, coaches, clergy members, youth leaders, and law-enforcement officers.
- Uniform Resource Locator (URL) - The specific location or address of material on the internet.
- USENET - A world-wide system of discussion groups where users' postings are shared, like a worldwide bulletin board. These sites may contain material and language that is inappropriate for children, since anyone can post on these sites.
- User - Refers to anyone who uses a computer. Another way of saying "User" is "Netizen."
- Virus - A computer program that can destroy files or make your computer "crash." Viruses can be sent via e-mail or through other file-sharing programs. Anti-virus software and not downloading information from people you don't know can help keep viruses from damaging your computer.
- Warez - Pirated or illegally distributed software.
- Web-Based Chat - A form of communication where users can have real-time conversations with other users conducted through an ISP. Chat can take place in a chatroom, Instant-Messaging program, or on IRC channels.
- Web Site - A collection of "pages" or files linked together and available on the world wide web.
- Webmaster - The person responsible for administering a web site.
- Whitelisting - A form of filtering that only allows connections to a preapproved list of sites that are considered useful and appropriate for children.
- World Wide Web (WWW)- An infinite number of games, web sites, pictures, sounds, stories, and other things all connected to each other through links on the internet. You can "surf" the web through your browser and find information about virtually anything. The web is just one service on the internet. Other services on the internet include internet relay chat, newsgroups, and e-mail. Web sites on the world wide web have "www" in their address.
- Zip File - Large files that have been compressed to make them easier to send over the internet. The receiver must download the file with a program that will unzip it, breaking it up into the individual files that were compressed together in order to view the files. For example, if you want to send a member of your family some photographs, you can zip them all together into one file to make it easier to send.