Cyberstalking: The Mysterious Big Bad Wolf You Won’t See (part 2 of 3)
Just because cyberstalking does not include physical contact with the perpetrator does not mean it’s not as threatening or frightening as any other type of crime especially for children. Victims of cyberstalking often experience psychological trauma, as well as physical and emotional reactions as a result of their victimization. Some of these effects may include:
- changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- fear for safety
- shock and disbelief
It is a parent and educator’s responsibility to always be on the lookout for these symptoms, and once found, to try to determine the cause. Please bear in mind that sometimes children will exhibit these symptoms and it is not because of cyberstalking. In other words, don’t think that every time there’s a problem, blame it on a cyberstalker. However, once the cause has been determined to be cyberstalking, then the appropriate measures need to be taken to try to resolve the issue at hand.
Child Protection From Cyberstalking
Child protection is a complex subject with a number of strategies involved. Policies and practices must be put in place to keep our precious children safe from harm — from physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect and cyber crimes. Any law-enforcement official knows that this issue is not to be taken lightly.
You should be aware that there are many facets to protecting our children. Much of it starts at the level of police departments, law-enforcement officials, and public institutions that work with children. Here are some examples:
- Child-protection legislation sets out how child abuse should be reported and investigated, and imposes obligations on people dealing with children. This includes a requirement in most states and territories for people working with children, to undergo a national criminal history check (in other words, be screened) to determine their suitability for working with children.
- Most state legislation also requires specific persons to report reasonable suspicions of children being abused or neglected. Individuals working with children including teachers and in some states and territories, other government workers who deal directly with children — are required by law to report any suspicions of child abuse or maltreatment, including neglect.
Tips To Protect Children In School And Sport Activities
There are actions you can take to ensure children feel safe and protected. These good practices include the following:
- use positive reinforcement and acceptable language when talking about or to a child
- develop a calm and non-confrontational behavior management style in a teaching or activity environment with children
- make sure that any physical contact with children (or adults for that matter) is done in a way that makes them feel comfortable, for example, shaking hands and a congratulatory pat on the back.
- avoid situations where an adult who has no relationship with the child (e.g. family) ends up alone with a child.
- where children need to be transported, ensure there is more than one child (and, if possible, more than one adult) in the vehicle
- manage allegations (disclosures) of child abuse through established processes and reporting lines (e.g social workers, law-enforcement specialists) to ensure there is due process and natural justice
- document all incidents involving physical restraint of children or violence involving children
- document all incidents that seem to be unusual or ‘out of the ordinary’ in terms of child behavior or interaction either between themselves or with adults.
- teach children that they have a right to feel safe, and know what they can do if they do not feel safe (if they are abused, harassed or discriminated against).
Protecting our children and the children we may be involved with on a regular basis is of great importance. Get the CHW Solutions!
Read part one of... Cyberstalking: The Mysterious Big Bad Wolf You Won’t See (part 1 of 3)
In Part 3 of 3: Legal Implications Of Cyberstalking, If Your Child Is Cyberstalked, Giving and Getting Help
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