A Parent’s Place in the War on Cyberbullying

In a recent AP article,  Dr. Victor Strasburger talks about a new policy put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics policy that extends the 2-hour screen-time limit to include social media.

Because cyberbullying takes place away from parental supervision, the AAP recommends strict limits on smartphones, computers and other Internet-connected devices, going as far as saying  TV and internet access have no place in a child’s or teen’s bedroom except for homework.

“Kids are getting way too much computer time,” says one parent. “It’s bad for their socialization, it’s overstimulating, it’s numbing them.” Screens in bedrooms not only interfere with child’s sleep, causing them to be more vulnerable to bullying during school, but they provide access to anti-social modeling. Says Dr. Strasburger, “I guarantee you that if you have a 14-year-old boy and he has an Internet connection in his bedroom, he is looking at pornography.”

A two-hour time limit may feel impossible to today’s families, but when children share your goals for them (health, well-developed talents, a positive social life), and parents limit themselves as well, you will find more cooperation.

Positive Parenting vs. Physical Discipline – NYTimes.com

I heard a talk show recently on NPR about corporal punishment in children. The interviewer returned to one panelist and said, “So, in your opinion, physical punishment doesn’t work.” The panelist responded, “It’s not my opinion, it’s proven research.” Here is some more information from the New York Times.

It is now well accepted that physical discipline is not only less effective than other non-coercive methods, it is more harmful than has often been understood — and not just to children. A review of two decades worth of studies has shown that corporal punishment is associated with antisocial behavior and aggression in children, and later in life is linked to depression, unhappiness, anxiety, drug and alcohol use and psychological maladjustment. Beyond beating, parents can also hurt children by humiliating them, labeling them in harmful ways (“Why are you so stupid?”), or continually criticizing their behavior.

Improving the way people parent might seem an impossible challenge, given the competing views about what constitutes good parenting. Can we influence a behavior that is rooted in upbringing and culture, affected by stress, and occurs mainly in private? And even if we could reach large populations with evidence-based messages the way public health officials got people to quit smoking, wear seat belts or apply sunscreen, would it have an impact?

That’s what was explored in South Carolina in recent years, and the answer appears to be yes. With funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a parenting system called the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, which was developed at the University of Queensland, Australia, was tested in nine counties across the state. Eighteen counties were randomly selected to receive either a broad dissemination of Triple P’s program or services as usual. The results were both highly promising and troubling.

Learn more about the Triple P program at The Benefits of Positive Parenting – NYTimes.com.

Keep in mind that corporal punishment is a common parenting practice used in cultures around the world, throughout history. The roots of bullying are deep.

Book signing TONIGHT 10/2 at 7p.m.

Local authors Dr. Louise Hart and Kristen Caven will be sharing FIVE INGREDIENTS of The Bullying Antidote at A Great Good Place for Books tonight.

Bestselling author Rick Hansen, who wrote The Buddha’s Brain, says it “provides parents with the knowledge and skills necessary to raise strong, resilient, assertive and emotionally healthy kids.” Jonathan Cohen, President of the National School Climate Center, highly recommends it. A recent trade reviewer said, “This is a well-written, understandable, and comprehensive book which your customers will be relieved to find on your shelves.” And one therapist wrote, “If you are looking for the definitive book on Bullying, you have found it. In fact, this book is so comprehensive, it covers societal factors, parenting styles, childhood development, self-esteem, emotional intelligence, brain science, best practices in schools, communication, and family dynamics, and all of the ways these factors contribute to the cause of—and then the solution to—bullying.”

It’s National Bullying Awareness Month, since this is the time kids are back to school and adapting to their new social scene.

If you know a parent anywhere who is struggling with bullying, be their child a bully or a target, please consider sending them the book this week. The authors are asking everyone they know to purchase a copy this weekend so their sales create a “blip” in the publishing world and their hopeful research can find its way into the hands of a wider range of parents.

The authors are also scheduling workshops and speaking engagements.

Link to the book’s resource blog: http://www.zorgos.wordpress.com

Link to the book’s FB page: https://www.facebook.com/TheBullyingAntidote

Please forward, thank you!

Kristen Caven & Dr. Louise Hart

http://www.kristencaven.com &  www.drlouisehart.com

via Book signing Wednesday 10/2 at 7p.m. | Kristen Caven.