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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 65
Hello,

There has been recent coverage of bullying in various forms. The one I have difficulty in understanding is "mobile phone" bullying. How's it possible and what are the signs to watch out for. I have two two boys and ensuring their wellfare and protection is vital, as it is for most parents.

Advice and information is appreciated.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:25 pm
Posts: 2556
This is an interesting one, so I'll kick off and hope others join in - maybe the subject should be in a general forum, rather than a local one as this will be applicable to many.

The word "bullying" get so over-used that, you're right, it's hard to recognise the symptoms always. I would say with mobile phones it would be prank calls. The kids seem to do a lot of this and, even if nothing nasty is said, it's still uncomfortable a) not knowing who is there b) dealing the sense that people are laughing at you c) that they are a group and you are not and so you feel excluded, not realising that within seconds they have moved on. Often, I guess, there will be little intent to hurt, this is more of a by-product of having been unlucky enough to have been picked on.

I suppose with all bullying, you have to know your child. My little one gets victimised at school. He deals with it well and has refused all attempts that we take him from the schooll, but the signs that it is returning, that the oiks are circling, are increased nervousness, a strange licking of his fingers and dabbing at his mouth, and the skin round his nails getting all torn and picked at. On the plus side - yes, you have to grab a plus side from everything!! - he is learning that what doesn't kill you (and obviously, I don't mean to sound flippant here, bullying can end tragically) can make you stronger. Plus he's got very good at karate!

Talk to them about it, your sons. Let them know that you are always there - my son felt shame at owning up to what some of the brutes had said to him, he felt that by vocalising it he was confirming it, making it somehow real. We had to talk round that one.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:42 pm 
I know this is an unpopular view but I am really against teenagers having mobile phones for this reason. A child may give their number to a few friends and by the end of the week the whole school, and potentially complete strangers, could have access to their information. I don't want to give my child a device which opens them up to nasty behaviour all through the day. If a kid is being bullied at school then at least they can come home each night to get away from it, but if they are being bullied via text and phone call as well then where can they find sanctuary?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:46 pm 
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facebook, too. A friend's daughter had an account set up by some nasties called "we hate XXXXXX". Can you believe it!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:03 pm 
Right, I'm getting rid of everyone's digital toys (except mine) and going back to wooden toys and dominoes! :(


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:55 pm
Posts: 851
Location: Bexley
I know of a boy who had his trousers pulled down at a party; someone took a photo on their phone and took a very explicit photo which they then forwarded to all their friends. That's bullying.

But of course the other danger regarding mobile phones is that children can use them to access the internet. We put all sorts of restrictions on our home computers but I wonder how many parents consider that their children might be accessing stuff via their phone that they wouldn't be able to at home? My kids have pay as you go and I suddenly realised recently that ds1 was asking me to top up his credit rather too frequently. I looked through his phone when he was out (which I felt very uncomfortable doing - like reading someone's diary) and discovered that he'd been downloading pictures of 'ladies in a state of undress'. :oops: There must have been a lot as DH took rather a long time deleting them all from the phone :?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:43 am
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T.i.p.s.y wrote:
I am really against teenagers having mobile phones for this reason

But I'm sure you'll agree that there comes a point, or more of a gradient really, when I think one's job as a parent is to let go. We're not going to be vetting their texts etc when they're at university, so it's probably best to give them some leeway while they're still at home.

T.i.p.s.y wrote:
if they are being bullied via text and phone call as well then where can they find sanctuary?


They can switch the phone off. Of course the nasty messages will be there when they turn it on, but it provides temporary respite. If it's really bad they could change their phone number.

Bexley Mum 2 wrote:
We put all sorts of restrictions on our home computers but I wonder how many parents consider that their children might be accessing stuff via their phone that they wouldn't be able to at home?


Very true.


Another point re bullying surveys is that they sometimes use a very wide definition of bullying, which bumps the numbers up, but, more importantly, doesn't distinguish between the nasty but normal that one has to learn to ignore and the repeated and really nasty stuff that requires intervention.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:14 pm 
I let my kids go - to boarding school - a long time ago. :wink: My kids aren't getting a mobile until they are 16. By then they will probably have found out all the nasties via other means including me and the radio which is just a wonderful source of embarrassment. Stuck on the M4 and DS hears the word condom over the radio and there is no where to run!

From the stories I hear and the comment above about the boy having a picture taken naked it is clear that although children are intelligent enough to use the internet and mobiles they are clearly not mature enough. Their immature behaviour can impact seriously on others. It may seem harmless to some but we would never let young children handle sharp objects until they are old enough to control the item and handle it sensibly and I think we should be doing the same for our teenagers. After the age of 16 they are adults but before then we have a responsibility to them and others.

EDIT: Please do not think I am judging others for the decisions they make over mobile phones. I just have a very strong view on this.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:55 pm
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Location: Bexley
Tipsy - I appreciate what you are saying - I'm fairly sure that if I could drive my boys to school and pick them up again then they wouldn't have mobile phones. Unlike some kids, they hardly ever text/chat on their phones. But the reason they have them is that they get the bus to and from school. So, if the bus breaks down and they're left stranded, or if they get into any sort of trouble on the way home, or if they need to stay late for some reason, want to go home via a friend's house, etc then they can let me know.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:02 pm
Posts: 662
Location: Herts
Stressedaddy

My DD had a session on "cyber bullying" last week - includes mobiles - and came home with two websites they were asked to encourage parents to look at.

I have looked at this one - www.thinkuknow.co.uk - but not this one yet (v bad, not done my homework :lol: ) - www.ceop.gov.uk

HTH


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