Michelle James: Hi I'm Michelle James, a counselor General Smallwood Middle School in Indian Head Maryland.
Today I'm talking about how technology has changed, how students interact and what adults need to know to help keep student safe in this high-tech world. Think about how today's students communicates cell phones, texting, e-mail and social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter. These are great tools that can enhance communication and learning in the 21st century, but as we have all seen a recent headlines they also can be abused.
Parents and counselors need to educate themselves and their children and give them the tools to deal with these situations. We need to ask questions and stay informed about our children's online activity. Of the many children who have been cyber bullied only 11 percent spoke to our parent about the incident, according to the website stopcyberbullying.
Here are some things counselors and parents can do. One; focus on the victim, be supportive and gather information. Two; remind students who are bullied that it is not their fault, bulling is not something that can or should be tolerated. Three; don't respond to cyber bullying, if the bully thinks you are intimidated they often will continue. Four; if the incident occurs report it to an adult immediately. Five; never share your passwords and remember information sent over the Internet and games and cell phones are always accessible, even if you think it has been erased permanently. As counselors we closely monitor changes in children's behavior, mood, grades and attitude.
Whenever a concern is raised parents are called immediately. It is extremely important to keep the lines of communication open between the child and the parents, between the child and the counselors and between the parents and the school staff.