Event raises cyberbullying awareness

Posted at: 05/02/2013 12:04 AM
Updated at: 05/02/2013 12:06 AM
By: Lynette Adams

Would you know how to identify cyberbullying if it was happening to you or your child?

On Wednesday night parents and kids got the chance to learn how to deal with this problem from a nationally known bullying specialist and at the Rochester Museum and Science Center.

This is Monroe County's second annual event targeting cyberbullying. The county sponsored this event to continue to raise awareness about the damage bullying can do.

News10NBC learned some pretty grim statistics from Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. She says one in five Monroe County teens say they have been bullied and 160,000 students countywide say they skip school to avoid being bullied.

"How many of you are on Facebook? Everyone almost," said Sameer Hinduja,

Hinduja is the co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center at Florida Atlantic University. He is well known in the fight against bullying.

Hinduja gave a compelling presentation, talking mostly to the teens and kids in the audience.

Hinduja conducted two other seminars on Wednesday with teachers, counselors and school administrators.

His message to young people is simple. If you want to get noticed, instead of spreading negative messages, start a positive campaign on Facebook, Twitter or some other social networking site.

Hinduja showed video examples of kids who started tweeting positive messages about other students and in every case that student became a hometown hero.

He encouraged kids to speak up and report cyberbullying, campaign for social justice, work to become known for something bigger than yourself.

Hinduja also gave advice for parents.

"A lot of parents feel overwhelmed because they haven't grown up with the technology. But honestly, all that they've learned in parenting 101 still applies. You just have to tweak it a little bit. For example, you have to discipline them. They're not going to naturally know the right things to do. You have train them on what to do when it comes to online technology and you have to keep in constant communication with them. I Feel many adults are involved in their kids offline lives, but not their online lives. We want to encourage them to take that step," said Hinduja.

Hinduja passed on a couple of helpful websites:

Facebook for Parents

Video Games and Kids

Get Parental Controls