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Courageous Conversations: Cyberbullying

Cyber or online bullying is quickly becoming the most pervasive form of bullying with children today and it is just as damaging as social and physical forms.

Shaan Saar Krav Maga’s flagship facility is located in Orlando, Florida and state that prohibits bullying in public schools. However, each school is responsible for enacting their own anti-bullying policies. The state of Florida is much stricter when it comes to cyberbullying versus other forms. Unlike many states, Florida has explicit definitions related to electronic bullying.

Cyber Bullying or bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication” (Fla. Stat. Ann. 1006.147) is a violation of Florida State Law and Public School students are protected under very specific statutes. The statute includes email, internet communications, instant messages, faxes, websites, and blogs in its descriptive and non-exclusive list of electronic means of bullying.

The statute further defines cyberbullying as systematically and chronically inflicting physical or psychological distress upon a student. Examples include: Teasing, social exclusion, threats, intimidation, violence, theft, sexual, religious, or racial harassment and public / private humiliation.

Parents and students have the ability to act quickly and with a way that sends a stern message to the bully. It is necessary for parents and guardians to remain vigilant for the safety and security of our children. For harassment and credible threats where a student has a reasonable fear of harm there are laws in place to safeguard them. Being certain to document, date, screen shot and time stamp can help enforce and punishments. You are entitled to demand consequences for the offenders.

In regard to cyberbullying and enforced conviction can result in: possible prison sentence not to exceed one year, a fine not to exceed $1,000, or both. Felony cyberbullying (based on repeat offense and age of the offender) faces a possible prison sentence not to exceed five years, a fine not to exceed $5,000, or both.

The first thing to do in order to help your child is keep an open line of communication. Encourage them to take screen shots and document everything with time stamps. I personally believe that all forms of bullying need to be served with a quick and stern message to stop the bully in their tracks and make sure those who might be tempted to engage in cyberbullying others know the consequences will be enforced by both the school and state. Sometimes that requires demanding punishment to the full extent. In order to make that happen a paper trail needs to be created. Helping create that paper trail can empower your child to regain their confidence and control.

What are your thoughts?

Our focus as community members is to serve all youth by keeping them safe and proactive. Call 407-730-1523 or email info@shaansaar.com to learn how we can better serve your family and children in an ever changing world.

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Renee RoseComment