STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) — Cyberbullying affects nearly 60% of teens in the U.S. and 63% consider it a “major problem”, according to a Pew Research Center study.
John Aston, Student Resource Officer for State College Area High School says, locally, cyberbullying dies down during the Summer but comes back with the start of school.
Jamey Perry says, as an Assistant Dean at Penn State, he sees cyberbullying often.
“They don’t have a problem calling out somebody else in a mean way, and it’s unfortunate,” Perry, said.
State College Area High School’s Student Resource Officer says there’s many forms of cyberbullying, like sexting.
“An inappropriate image that was shared or captured by one juvenile to another and then used in a blackmail fashion,” Aston, said.
In 2015 PA lawmakers passed a new Cyber Harassment of a Child law. It’s a crime when any electronic device is used to harass another student or minor.
So as a parent what should you tell your child? “Don’t retaliate, don’t add to it, you’re only empowering the bully by doing so,” SRO Aston, said. “Save the evidence, screen shot it, don’t get rid of the app. A lot of apps now you can block that person, you can block that person from sending anything else.”
He says also, protect your electronic devices with passwords and be sure to try to see to where your child is coming from.
As a parent of a State College Area High School student, Jamey Perry says he has total access to his son’s cell phone and computer, so he can monitor what his son is seeing.
“We want to trust our son, but obviously you just don’t know what predators are out there and what they could be doing,” Perry, said.
Here’s several websites SRO Aston recommends for help dealing with cyberbullying: