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Bullying and Cyber-Bullying – Primers For Indiana Social Workers

October 3, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS - Bullies victimize, but they are most often victims themselves. Anger-management counselor Brian Myers says bullies need to be better understood. Myers is speaking this week at the convention of the Indiana chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

"We often treat them as if they're somebody who doesn't deserve help; they're not going to accept help; they're not going to reform or become better, and that's really a sad way to look at it."

Myers says the most common type of bully is what is known as the "victim bully."

"They have been victimized either by a peer group, or maybe an older sibling. Or maybe it's what they're seeing and hearing in their home or in their neighborhood."

Myers teaches victims how to project self-confidence, even if they don't feel confident, which helps them from being targeted.

Meanwhile, Internet safety expert, Dan Claassen, a former police officer, says that if parents notice a change in their child's online or texting habits - like a stop in usage or a dramatic increase - find out why. Stopping cyber-bullying, he says, requires some "old school" parenting.

"Number one is communication. It's sitting down at dinner, sitting down at breakfast, taking one of those meals a day to mandate that the family gets together. You leave technology like cell phones on the counter and you talk about your day."

Claassen, who has started a non-profit to combat technology bullying called My Cyber Guardian.com, says kids and teens typically respond to texts too quickly.

"The message we're trying to get across is to not respond emotionally and to think before you post."

The NASW Indiana convention is being held Indianapolis today and Tuesday.

Claassen's site can be visited at mycyberguardian.org

Leigh DeNoon, Public News Service - IN