Although playground bullying in itself is not new, it has changed with the rise in children owning and using mobile phones. Some kids are now using mobile phones to send insulting, threatening or unpleasant voice, text and picture messages, either directly to their victims, or to spread malicious rumours. The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association has recently launched a new section on its website (www.str8tlk.amta.org.au) to offer advice to both children and parents if bullying is occurring. Here are tips for dealing with the problem:
• Encourage your child to discuss bullying with you. Make it clear that being a target is not her fault.
• Advise your child to protect her phone number by only giving it to friends, and keep a note of who she’s given it to.
• If she is being bullied directly, tell her to not respond – responding gives the bully the “kick” they’re after.
• Encourage your child to keep any message (and time and date it was sent) as evidence, and to tell you, a teacher or another adult.
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