Educator: Parents’ role is vital to stop cyber-bullying

By Leanna Landsmann
Detroit Free Press
Dear Leanna: My daughter Karissa, 12, was “cyber-bullied” by girls just before school ended, so I didn’t report it. I reduced her computer access this summer, and she became less upset. School’s starting and she’s emotional again. Should I alert the school?

Answer: Yes, but don’t assume the problem will disappear without your involvement. Schools are concerned about cyber-bullying, but the counselor’s caseload and the time since the incident will make it hard to get to the heart of this case.

Take two important steps, advises Tom Caplan, an educator who trains faculty, parents and students to reduce cyber-bullying.

First, educate yourself. Bullying is an attempt to assert power over another to achieve a feeling of superiority. Cyber-bullies multiply their hurtful impact through mass e-mails or distribution of humiliating photos. Because the bullies often use different screen names, they can threaten and harass on a scale far surpassing face-to-face encounters.

“If your school doesn’t have a program, identify an educator who is passionate about this, and network with other parents to put one in place,” Caplan says. “Clemson University’s Olweus Bullying Prevention Program ( is effective.” Full story.


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