Bullying conference in Marshfield highlights cyber attacks
Apr 24, 2014 10:54 PM
MARSHFIELD (WAOW) -
Technology and social media are on the rise, and it's giving bullies a new avenue to cause trouble.
Cyber bullying has become an epidemic amongst middle and high school students. Online attacks can be just as hurtful, and parents are doing their best to keep up.
Renee Schulz-Stangel does her best to know what technology her children use.
"As a parent, I think I'm fairly well-educated and connected technology-wise, but the kids are so much further ahead," she said.
Social media has opened the door for a new way teens can be mean to each other.
"Bullying happens online basically anywhere teens are congregating online so it takes a variety of forms," said Justin Patchin, a co-director of the Cyber Bullying Research Center. "It could be as simple as a comment on a social networking page. It could be a rumor circulating."
Patchin gives dozens of informational presentations a year on this all-too-common problem.
"We know from our research that at least one in four teens has experienced cyber bullying at some point their lifetime and probably 10 percent have experienced it at some point in the last 30 days," he said.
Schulz-Stangel says she tries to keep the lines of communication open with her children.
"It's important to know what your kids are doing, what they're facing in school and what they're seeing their friends face," she said.
Experts say talking openly with a teen is the best thing parents can do.
"Talk with your kids. Ask them where they're going, what environments they like to hang out in, what their favorite app is, where they're spending most of their time," Patchin said.
It won't end the bullying epidemic, but it's a step in the right direction.
"We have to try and get ahead of all these cycles that we see happening and with all of the changes and all of the new ways to be able to hurt people," Schulz-Stangel said.