Not too long ago, I received an email from the office manager at my daughter’s school. “We need you to come in for an emergency meeting right after school.”
My first thought was, “What has she done?” I tried to look for her right after the bell rang, but I was immediately summoned into the office. Dread filled my heart and I started to feel hot.
“There is no easy way to say this. Your daughter was part of a chat room discussion and there was an incident.”
“What kind of incident?” I asked.
“She was cyberbullied.”
“What? When? Who? How? What?”
The details were not released to protect the children, and the teacher discovered my daughter didn’t really know what had happened since she was half paying attention, half trying out new make-up tips on herself and only peered over every few moments. But another girl in the chatroom took a screenshot of the exchange and brought it to school. There it was in text, words I wouldn’t want her or anyone to see.
We are in a new world with our kids, a world that we ourselves never experienced. We could make mistakes and the only people who knew were the people who could hear or see us. We could toss an insult and it went as far as you could throw it. Today, our kids are open to a world of opportunities online, but also a world of judgement.
I am including this graphic of some really important tips to share with your kids. Right now, they might just be on Minecraft, or might just play The Logo Game on your phone. But, there will be a time very soon, if not already, that your child will need serious and firm guidance on how to be safe online and how to stay safe online. Help them out, it truly is a whole new world.
Thank you to Kristen Welch for the graphic.