With classes online, bullying advocates urge parents to talk to kids about cyber bullying

MILTON, Wis. – Anti-bullying advocacy group “Be A Rooney” is just one group urging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of cyber bullying during online classes.

“Cyber bullying is not just in one location,” said “Be A Rooney” Vice President Heather Williams. “Cyber bullying is internet based. It’s everywhere.”

Williams says the effects of cyber bullying can be difficult on young students.

“It can create trauma, it can create grief, it can create anti social behaviors,” she said.

Leaders in the School District of Milton say if parents or students are concerned about cyber bullying, they should reach out directly.

“If they need resources, help, or support, this is the time to reach out,” said Julie Musgrove, associate principal at Northside Intermediate School in Milton.

The district says while it hasn’t had any cases of cyber bullying brought forth by students or parents, it is taking proactive measures to encourage positive and affirming communication between students online.

“The way kids are feeling and the way kids are feeling supported by their classmates, communities and parents is the priority right now,” said Shelly Henschler, a counselor at Northside Intermediate.

Both Thompson and the school district agree, the best thing parents can do is have open conversations with their kids about their online learning.

“Explain to them what cyber bullying looks like,” Thompson said. “Ask them questions.”

(The “Be a Rooney” anti-bullying advocacy group recommends the following resources: Internetsafety101.org and the Safe Surfing Foundation)

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