Cyber Safe Program
The Bowling Green Police Department in conjunction with the Bowling Green High School Renaissance Team has developed a Cyber Safe program for our citizens. As part of the third annual Student Solutions Program, Bowling Green High School students helped develop a solution to a real problem - Cyberbullying.
The Student Solutions program works with teams of students from all four Bowling Green and Warren County high schools. Each team is given one problem from a list of five provided by the City of Bowling Green Department Heads and spends two months developing a solution to that problem. At the end of the process, each group presents a ten-minute power point presentation outlining their solutions.
Our team of students researched the Cyberbullying problem, conducted a survey among local elementary and middle school students and put together a curriculum for police officers, parents and educators.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying can be defined as "the use of information and communications technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and pager messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal web sites, and defamatory online personal polling websites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others".
Cyberbullying follows the victims wherever they go. As a result, it is hard to hide from cyberbullying because it reaches into every corner of a child's life. It has become a 24 hour a day ordeal for some youth.
Cyberbullying Can Take Different Forms
- Flaming: Online fights using electronic messages with angry and vulgar language.
- Harassment: Repeatedly sending nasty, mean, and insulting messages.
- Denigration: “Dissing” someone online. Sending or posting gossip or rumors about a person to damage his or her reputation or friendships.
- Impersonation: Pretending to be someone else and sending or posting material to get that person in trouble or danger or to damage that person’s reputation or friendships.
- Outing: Sharing someone’s secrets or embarrassing information or images online.
- Trickery: Talking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information, then sharing it online.
- Exclusion: Intentionally and cruelly excluding someone from an online group.
- Cyber Stalking: Repeated, intense harassment and denigration that includes threats or
- creates significant fear.
Parents can help stop cyberbullying. You can start by talking to kids about the issue and teaching them the rules below that will help prevent cyberbullying from happening to them or someone they know.
What Kids Need to Know
- Never give out personal information online, whether in instant message profiles, chat rooms, blogs, or personal websites.
- Never tell anyone but your parents your password, even friends.
- If someone sends a mean or threatening message, don't respond. Save it or print it out and show it to an adult.
- Never open emails from someone you don't know or from someone you know is a bully.
- Don't put anything online that you wouldn't want your classmates to see, even in email.
- Don't send messages when you're angry. Before clicking "send," ask yourself how you would feel if received the message.
- Help kids who are bullied online by not joining in and showing bullying messages to an adult.
- Always be as polite online as you are in person.
Since most cyberbullying takes place at home, it's important that parents know about cyberbullying and that they get involved in preventing it. Just like parents help their kids avoid inappropriate websites, they can protect them from cyberbullying.
What Parents Can Do
Keep your home computer is a busy area of your house.
Set up email and chat accounts with your children. Make sure that you know their screen names and passwords and that they don't include any personal information in their online profiles.
- Regularly go over their instant messenger "buddy list" with them. Ask who each person is and how your children know him or her.
- Discuss cyberbullying with your children and ask if they have ever experienced it or seen it happen to someone.
- Tell your children that you won't blame them if they are cyber bullied. Emphasize that you won't take away their computer privileges - this is the main reason kids don't tell adults when they are cyber bullied.
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