Bullying doesn't take a summer vacation

Bullying doesn't take a summer vacation

(WTOL) - School's out for the summer, but bullying doesn't take a vacation. The only difference is kids won't be able to report it to teachers and school officials.

That means parents need to be extra vigilant with their children.

Oregon police officer Sara Shaw wants to make sure students are ready for whatever is thrown at them while school is out.

"Where is it going on?" Shaw asked. "Because we know you're not always telling us."

Summertime means free-time for kids, especially if they're not involved in activities.

Officer Shaw said places your child could be bullied include the park, sporting events or the mall. But social media remains the number one place where children could be victims.

"Someone's gonna make fun of someone on that. Mostly it's Instagram," said sixth grader Carson Cordell.

Another app called Musicly is gaining popularity among bullies as well.

"You make videos of yourself, and there's lots of comments and stuff people can make. Like, like I had a 'Musicly,' and someone made, this really sucks," said sixth grader Alyssa Krontz.

Danielle Cisterino is the program director at Teen PEP - It stands for peers educating peers. They teach teens how to stand up to bullying in school.

She says you can prepare your kids before it happens.

"Do role plays with your kids and say okay, 'What if this scenario happened? How would you handle that?' And I'm gonna be the bully. And I'm gonna say this: 'What would you do with that?' They might be seem a little cheesy, but they go along way because, think about that. The next time that child sees that happening, they'll be equipped to handle it the right way."

Officer Shaw says part of that conversation should be minimizing the impact of social media on their lives by getting them involved in sports and other activities.

"They now feel that their importance level is based on what happens to them in social media. Their real life relationships don't carry any weight, because if it doesn't mean anything on social media, then they have no existence or relevance to the people that they're interacting with day after day after day in the classroom," said Shaw.

Shaw says you can also take the hard stance and ban social media all together.

"When they're in 5th grade, do they really need the internet and the world at their fingers? I don't know. That's not my child. I can't tell you. But from what I handle at work, I'm saying 'no they don't,'" Shaw said.

Shaw says many children won't take snapshots of bullying on their phones because some apps let the bully know. Parents can get around this by taking a picture of the phone to document instead.

Experts say parents who need to get police involved should do it sooner than later and keep those pictures.

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