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Dr Kate Writes: Knowledge is power when beating Cyber Bullying

defeating Cyber Bullying

Knowledge is power when beating Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is the use of technology to harass, hurt, embarrass, humiliate, and intimidate another person. Targets are the same students who are bullied in person; they are vulnerable, have difficulty reading social cues and they are often alone and socially isolated. That is why i believe Knowledge is power when beating Cyber Bullying.

Cyber bullying occurs 24/7 via cell phones, instant messaging, mobile devices, and social networking websites. According to recent studies almost half of middle and high school students have experienced or witnessed cyber bullying (CRC, 2010; NCPC, 2007). With the social app snapchat content or images can be erased after 10 seconds, allowing students to send messages without even a trace of evidence. And snap hat is only one of many social media apps that offer an online audiences for bullies, who tear down helpless victims, many of whom don’t even know it’s happening.

Today’s parents are tech trailblazers and the first generation that’s had to contend with this level of cyber harassment. Parents can arm themselves and their children with knowledge when protecting their children against cyber bullies. Here are some tips on beating cyber bullying:

Beating Cyber Bullying:  Have the “cyber bullying” conversation.

Children don’t like to talk about bullying therefore parents shouldn’t  be surprised when they down play the conversation. The reason for this is they have likely bullied themselves, been bullied or been a bullying bystander and the talk brings up these memories and feelings of shame. Children may be afraid to lose tech privileges if they feel they are honest. Others don’t view cyber bullying as “real bullying” out of their own ignorance, more than defiance. Parents need to have an open conversation and respond without judgement as their children open up about what they know.

Beating Cyber Bullying: Explain how what you don’t know does hurt you.

Some kids minimize or justify by saying, the “target child didn’t even know that was said, etc” Explain that it doesn’t matter. Use their life experiences to illustrate how badly they feel when people talk about them negatively. Explain the concept of empathy and how you expect them to act with empathy and that peer bullying is an opportunity for them to practice their empathy skills. Role play and give them scripts to work off of “That’s hurtful and if you are going to make fun of him, I’m leaving”, for example.

Beating Cyber Bullying: Set cyber safety rules.

Whenever they interact online, remind your children that they never really know who is on the other end of cyber communication. It could be the person they think it is, but because they cannot see that person, they should always proceed with caution in their exchanges. With that in mind, enforce the guideline “Don’t do or say anything online that you wouldn’t do or say in person”.

Beating Cyber Bullying: Know what your children are doing online.

Set online safety rules and limiting time spent on tech, naturally minimizes access to and involvement with cyber bullying. Parent rules include: access to all passwords; frequently checking social media accounts, and websites visited; having social media apps used in common areas only, not in private; have an early cut-off time for social media use- 9pm for example.

Beating Cyber Bullying:Empowering Parents

If your child does not use social networking sites or other technology, but you are worried that he or she may be a target of cyber bullying, consider seeking

help from outside resources like your child’s peers, and your neighbours, and ask them to inform you of cyber bullying that may be occurring.  If you discover that your child is being cyber bullied:  Save the URLs of the location where the bullying occurred; document it by printing the e-mails or web pages, and know in advance who at the school is the administrator overseeing bullying.

Who is Dr Kate Roberts?

Dr Kate Roberts

Dr Kate Roberts

Being a parent is hard work, now add in Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram pics and YouTube video and it just got a whole lot harder. Not to mention the highly celebrity driven world we live in, it can be taxing keeping up with the latest reality star and idols who get themselves into precarious situations for your child’s eyes to easily see. “In this fast paced society parents need, in the moment, practical strategies they can rely on,” says Dr. Roberts, “I teach parents cognitive-behavioral tools to help them quickly  resolve family issues, without conflict and with confidence”.

For more than twenty five years Dr. Kate Roberts has helped children and families navigate through the ever evolving world of relationships. As a licensed psychologist, family therapist and couples counselor, and wife and mother of two, Dr. Kate offers a unique and highly qualified perspective in her practice, in the media and in her  Savvy Parenting  blog on Psychology Today. 

 Dr. Kate has done more than sixty interviews on television, newspapers, and online and traditional magazines. Most recently Time Magazine, Parenting magazine, Scholastic Magazine, Parents Magazine, Boston Metro, Working Mother magazine and Disney In addition to all of this Dr. Kate is published in a number of articles in professional journals and writes the bi-weekly parenting column Dr. Kate’s Parent Rap in the Salem News. 

Dr. Kate welcomes questions from reporters and writers and has been interviewed on a wide variety of family and parenting topics, from the Boston bombings, to Columbine shootings, bullying and children addicted gaming

 Dr. Kate completed her undergraduate degree in psychology from Boston University and her doctorate in clinical psychology from University of Rhode Island. She completed her pre and post doctoral training at Brown University and Butler and Bradley Hospitals. 

 Dr. Kate has worked as a consulting psychologist to school districts throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She held a faculty position at the Brown University Medical School, Department of Psychiatry as a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry. Currently Dr. Kate works full time coaching children and families in her private practice outside of Boston and through institutions such as Massachusetts General Hospital.

If you are interested in interviewing Dr. Kate for a news piece, article or blog please contact Dr. Kate Roberts at 978-884-1213. She is also available to write or blog as an expert on appropriate web sites. For more information on Dr. Kate check out her website at

Spread the word on how to use knowledge for beating cyber bullying Now!


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1 Comment

    Sep 22, 2013 at 01:20 pm

    Very Nice One 🙂

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