EDITOR'S NOTE: This editorial first ran in August 2017. However, with the schools back in session, the editorial board felt it was one necessary to rerun.
With summer unofficially over and children back in school, we hope their year is off to a great start. Unfortunately, bullying can ruin it.
While calls about bullying are not as frequent as they were in the past thanks to new policies and procedures, that doesn't mean it no longer exists.
And thanks to technology, it can be hard to always see bullying, especially online. However, children who are being cyberbullied are often bullied in person as well.
Children who are cyberbullied have a harder time getting away from the behavior. It can happen 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and reach a child even when he or she is alone. It can happen any time of the day or night.
Parents need to be aware. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not happening. With new social media apps appearing daily, it can be hard for parents and adults to keep up with it all.
Talk with your children about cyberbullying and other online issues regularly. Here are a few tips:
• Know the sites your children visit and their online activities. Ask where they're going, what they're doing and who they're doing it with.
• Tell your children that as a responsible parent, you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern. Installing parental control filtering software, or monitoring programs, is one option for monitoring your child's online behavior, but do not rely solely on these tools.
• Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use.
• Ask for their passwords, but tell them you'll only use them in case of emergency.
• Ask to "friend" or "follow" your children on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.
• Encourage your children to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or cellphones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.
When cyberbullying happens, it is important to document and report the behavior so it can be addressed. Cyberbullying often violates the terms of service established by social media sites and internet service providers. Depending on the circumstances, law enforcement may need to be contacted.
We hope these tips won't be needed. However, if you need more resources, visit stopbullying.gov.
Let's make this year great and stop all forms of bullying.