“I don’t think that teens these days realize how important or dangerous that Facebook, social media or texting can be,” says local parent and grandparent, Lorie Sanchez.
Thursday night, GJPD school resource officers gave parents and teens the scoop on smart cyber use in a community info session. Cyber-bullying was a high priority on the list.
“It’s definitely something that is much more prevalent than it used to be. Any kind of conflict they have just carries right over into social media usually,” says GJPD School Resource Officer, Tim Litzau.
According to a study from the Pew Research Center, a majority of American teenagers say they have been bullied or harassed online. School resource officers say that online abuse can correlate with suicide, something that is prevalent in our community.
“It does have a lot to do with how kids are interacting and communicating more with a screen than they are with someone face to face. So that impacts their ability to see what somebody else is feeling. We’re seeing that it takes away from their ability to have empathy,” says Litzau.
Litzau say local school policy however does allow for adults to intervene in these types of incidents, even on platforms outside of school.
“Those are things that we can address both with school district policy and if the behavior doesn’t change or if it doesn’t get better from those types of consequences, then there are legal consequences that can come after that as well,” says Litzau.
Thursday’s session also detailed online predators as consistent threat.
“They’re not thinking about potential consequences of maybe posting everything that happened to them today online,” says Litzau.
School resource officers advised for parents to stay in the know, so they can further protect their kids from the dangers.
“Those are important conversations to continue to have. I think after so many years of having them they realize that you care and you do trust them; it’s the other people out there that you don’t know, that you don’t trust,” says Sanchez.