Category Archives: Boarding Schools

Youth at higher risk of involvement in the sex trade

All youth can be recruited or forced into the sextrade.

However some youth are more at risk.

Youth in foster care and youth with child welfare involvement

A 2007 research report out of New York State found a high correlation between child welfare involvement and subsequent commercial sexual exploitation. between 85 to 89% of youth reported to be commercially sexually exploited had prior child welfare involvement.1

Youth who are homeless,AWOL, runaway, in unstable housing  situations

Research results demonstrate a consistently high risk of involvement in survival sex or other forms of commercial sexual exploitation for youth without stable housing. the most recent federally funded national study found 70% of homeless youth are commercially sexually exploited.2

Out of school youth, unemployed youth, low or no income youth

While not documented specifically in research, youth in group discussions have reported a lack of money or survival needs (even when youth have a place to live), lack of access to jobs and lack of skills from dropping  out or being pushed out of school as direct links to their involvement or consideration of the sex trade to make money.

Youth with family involved in the sex trade and/or an active sex trade in their community

Youth in prevention workshops continue to identify being around an active sex trade in their community or family members involved in the sex trade as a risk factor. Youth stress that people in the community are more likely to encourage or recruit them and an active sex trade normalizes the option.

Youth with a history of sexual abuse

All research studies that ask youth who are or have been involved in the sex trade about previous sexual abuse prior to any commercial sexual exploitation find rates of up to over 90%. Research also suggests that sexual abuse is a factor independent of any resulting running away or substance abuse.3

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Youth

Personally I disapprove of the word Queer…..by definition….abnormal or odd.  Traditional teachings tell me that all human beings are spiritually equal in creation and have a purpose in the grand scheme of life.  But the movement is because of the context in which it was reclaimed, queer has sociopolitical connotations, and is often preferred by those who are activists, by those who strongly reject traditional gender identities, by those who reject distinct sexual identities such as gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight, and by those who see themselves as oppressed by the heteronormativity of the larger culture. In this usage it retains the historical connotation of “outside the bounds of normal society” and can be construed as “breaking the rules for sex and gender.” It can be preferred because of its ambiguity, which allows “queer” identifying people to avoid the sometimes strict boundaries that surround other labels. In this context, “queer” is not a synonym for LGBT as it creates a space for “queer” heterosexuals as well as “non-queer” (“straight-acting”) homosexuals.4

LGBTQQ youth make up 20 to 40% of all homeless youth, resulting in high rates of survival sex.5

Additionally, a study in Canada found LGBT youth were three times more likely to trade sex for survival than heterosexual youth.5 Almost 60% of transgender youth reported exchanging sex for money in recent Chicago based research.

Youth of Color

African American minors are over-represented in prostitution arrests, comprising 55% of all arrests of juveniles for prostitution across the U.S. in 2002. Some of the evidence suggests this may have to do with unequal law enforcement strategies that target communities of color. However this may also reflect a higher involvement of African American, Latino, Asian,  and Native American or First Nations, that  experience higher rates of poverty and involvement in the child welfare system.

1. Gragg, F. et al.  (2007). New York Prevalence Study of Commercially Sexually Exploited Children. http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/reports/CSEC-2007.pdf. Accessed April 8, 2009

2. Estes. R and Weiner N. (2001). The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the United States. Canada and Mexico. http://www.sp2.upenn.edu/-restes/csec Files/Complete CSEC 020220.pdf. Accesses April 8, 2009

3. Simons. R and Whitebeck, L. (1991) Sexual Abuse as a Precurser to prostitution and Victimization Among Adolescent and Adult Homeless Women. Journal of family Issues, 12(3).

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queer

5. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (2007). Lesbian,gay, bisexual and trangender youth: An epidemic of homelessness. http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports and research/homeless youth. Accessed April 8, 2009

6. (Gaetz, S. (2004). Safe streets for whom? Homeless youth, social exclusion, and criminal victimization. canadian Journal of Criminal Justice, 46(6).)

7.Howard Brown Health Center (2008). http://www.howardbrown.org/uploadFiles /HowardBrownResearchNews0408.pdf. Accessed April 8. 2009

8. Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2002). Crime in the United States. http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cuis 02/html/web/arrested/04-table43.html. Accessed April 8, 2009

Claudine O”Leary    http://www.rethinkresources.net

A few personal thoughts by yours truly…

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Sexual Assault Boys to Men

I recently listened to a story from an Indian man who is a survivor and is encouraging other men to speak up about the sexual abuse they have suffered in their lives.
He is doing this for several reasons, most importantly it is breaking the silence, and the road to healing can begin. Another reason is that perpetrators may be held accountable and other young boys may be saved from the same abuse.
It is harder for males to admit they have been victimized sexually by other males for reasons we as a society play a role in. First of all, there is a stink about homosexuality that permeates this country and the world. This stench denies male victims justice, for fear of social ostracism. Secondly, society has equated masculinity to strength as in not having human emotions and the main perpetrators of this is men themselves. Myself, as a women, witnessing a man showing human emotion attribute this to integrity and balance. Lastly, we as women and mother’s of both sexes, male and female are not acknowledging these issues exist and our children are suffering and most likely will die or commit suicide with this socially perpetrated injustice. Following is an article to prove my point further:
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
April 1, 2009
“Trail of Tears”
Police are digging into two possible suicides, a drug death and the molestation of at least 28 boys.
TRACKING ACKER’S TRAIL
By Tom Kertscher
GREENFIELD, WI– At least one and possibly two of Daniel Acker’s suspected victims committed suicide and a third died because of complications from drug use, according to the police official who is supervising the Acker investigation.
And Greenfield police now believe that Acker, 61, a longtime West Allis resident before moving to Waukesha last year, molested at least 28 boys.
In an hour long interview Tuesday with the Journal Sentinel, Deputy Inspector Bradley Wentlandt retraced the “trail of tears” detectives have followed in their investigation, which could reach a pivotal stage this week.
And he detailed how Acker, who is suspected of assaulting boys in his homes, on the lakefront, in a park and elsewhere, managed to cloak his actions over four decades.
“I guess you could say that over time, he got better at it,” Wentlandt said.
Prosecutors have charged Acker with a 2005 assault on a boy who is now 19 and are expected to decide this week whether to file charges involving two other suspected victims.
In an interview Sunday from jail, where Acker admitted to “weaknesses,” and “poor choices” but denied having sexual relations with boys.
Greenfield police are investigating the case because on of Acker’s accuser’s, a man now in his 40’s said he was molested by Acker in Greenfield in the 1970’s.
Wentlandt said the man reported the alleged assaults in a voice mail message left march 19 with West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreation Department, which has employed Acker as a part-time swim instructor for 37 years.
Wentlandt said a supervisor of that department spoke to the man the same day, then informed Greenfield Police March 23 Acker was arrested that day while teaching a youth swim class in West Allis.
Wentlandt said he didn’t know why the supervisor waited four days to make the report but doesn’t believe the delay hampered investigation.
Since then, more than 100 people have spoken to investigators. Police say the 28 males they have identified as victims were molested by Acker between 1972 and 2005.
The boys generally were between the ages of 7 and 15 when they were abused, although some continued to be molested into their later teen years, according to Wentlandt.
The assaults occurred over the years at Acker’s homes, first in Greenfield and later on the northwest side of Milwaukee and in West Allis, where he lived from 1990 to 2008, Wentlandt said.
Acker also molested boys at Whitnall Park, near Like Michigan, in Eagle River and in Waterford in Racine County, Wentlandt said.
Acker met the boys from among the literally thousands of children who took his swim classes, through a previous job working at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex and through other people, Wentlandt said.
Acker befriended boys from troubled families, bought them things and took them places, let them hang out at his home and sometimes gave them alcohol and marijuana.
After a period of months, he would ask the boys if he could take nude pictures of them; later he would touch them sexually.
Some of the boys refused to be photographed nude and never saw Acker again, but others-thankful for the attention Acker showed them-succumbed to indecent touching and eventually to more advanced sexual activity, Wentlandt said.
“They’re already being assaulted before they know what happened,” Wentlandt said.
“I GUESS YOU COULD SAY OVER TIME HE (Acker) GOT BETTER AT IT.”
One of the suspected victims committed suicide as an adult, another death is considered a possible suicide and a third died from complications stemming from drug use, Wentlandt said. He said relatives of the drug user tied the drug use to Acker’s suspected assaults.
Other men identified as Acker’s victims suffer from broken marriages and can’t hold jobs, Wentlandt said.
Even though the number of suspected victims has reached 28, it is not known whether police will be able to seek charges involving more than the three cases already submitted to the district attorney’s office.
In 15 of the cases, the alleged abuse would have occurred before 1989, beyond the statute of limitations. In 10 cases the suspected victims were unable or unwilling to provide enough information.
Equally frustrating is the belief that Acker likely continued molesting boys after 2005, the year of the assault involving the 19-year-old, Wentlandt said.
But Wentlandt said he understands, having witnessed the anguish of men in their 30’s and 40’s recounting their allegations of abuse by Acker, how a teen molested more recently would not come forward. Victims often feel a stigma about having been abused, believe they somehow consented to it or fear being labeled homosexual, he said.
“I can’t imagine how a 14 year old boy would feel in the same circumstances” said Wentlandt.
Despite police allegations that Acker committed hundreds of attacks, neither West Allis nor Greenfield police have records of any prior reports of abuse by Acker. Milwaukee police said they have no record of any other contact with him.
After his arrest, Acker would not volunteer any information about sexual contact with boys, Wentlandt said.
But after being confronted with the details about the 19 year old and about five other victims from the 1970s, he admitted to assaults involving these boys, Wentlandt said.
Wentlandt said he hoped to exhaust most leads this week and then turn over information to other law enforcement authorities about alleged assaults in their communities.
As a mother and a tribal victim advocate I am pleading with you boys and men to break your silence and bring these perpetrators to justice so we may can put a stop to this on our lands!

They came for the children

Norther Express Weekly
Northern Michigan

They came for the children
Anne Stanton

The Holy Childhood School of Jesus was demolished last fall, but former students say they’ll never forget their formative years at the Indian boarding school. This is the final story of a series that has focused on the school’s legacy.

The Holy Childhood School of Jesus was established by Catholic nuns with the mission of helping impoverished Indian children and raising them in the Roman Catholic faith. But it was just one of scores of boarding schools established by religious groups or the U.S. government that took in tens of thousands of Indian children in a misguided social experiment.
The Harbor Springs school, founded in 1829, was one of the earliest Indian boarding schools in the country. Like thousands of Indian children across the country, the students began boarding school life at the age of six or seven and returned home at the age of 14. Holy Childhood closed in 1983 due to low enrollment, money problems, and staff shortages.
The question is, why boarding schools?
The church’s mission was obvious—to help children, some of them from deeply troubled homes, and to raise them as Christians, be it Episcopalian, Methodist or Catholic. The government’s motives had more to do with “civilizing” the savage man. The third reason is economic. University of Michigan doctoral student Veronica Pasfield contends that off-reservation boarding schools and federal policies worked synergistically to seize or control a tribe’s property and other assets. Such rich resources were desperately needed by a post-Civil War economy at a time when the country was swiftly industrializing, she said.
The Holy Childhood School in Harbor Springs was founded in the early 19th century in a tiny log cabin, decades earlier than the first off-reservation government school of 1879.

ASSIMILATION
The government boarding school model was created by Army Captain Richard H. Pratt, who is known for his famous phrase: “Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.”
At that time, many people — except for the most hardened Indian haters — felt that it was better to educate rather than kill the remaining 290,000 Indians who had survived the Indian wars. The pre-invasion population was estimated between 12.5 million to 18.5 million, according to books by Russell Thornton and Henry F. Dobyns, wrote Ward Churchill in Kill the Indian, Save the Man.
Reformers had pinned their hopes on molding the children, who would then return to the reservation to lead their tribe out of their “savage” life. Policy makers believed the education route was also more cost-effective. Carl Schurz, commissioner of Indian Affairs, estimated in 1881 that it cost about $1 million to kill an Indian in warfare versus $1,200 to educate an Indian in boarding school for eight years, wrote Cleveland State University Professor David Wallace Adams in his book, Education for Extinction.
Captain Pratt believed the only way to truly assimilate an Indian into white society was to completely remove the children from their families, send them to a boarding school, and not allow them to go home from the ages of 7 to 14. (This policy was later changed to allow children to go home for summer vacations.)
The government worked closely with the churches, which were hired as agents to manage the tribes’ economic affairs. These same churches often opened boarding schools and closely followed the policies and philosophies of the government schools. By 1900, there
were 153 government and private boarding schools in the country, attended by nearly 18,000 children, according to the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

MAKING INDIANS ‘WHITE’
The goal of these schools was to mold an Indian child into a white person both in appearance and mindset. Students would be punished for doing or saying anything “Indian.” Before Holy Childhood was demolished last fall, visitors could still see the barber chair where students would get their long braids cut off. Yet Holy Childhood did make accommodations — prayer books were translated into the Native American language for students to use.
The curriculum taught the basics, but also Christian beliefs and the moral imperative of becoming an American consumer, Adams wrote. And Indians were clearly not “consumers” in the late 1800s. They lived communally and traditionally, and that was a problem in a capitalistic society, wrote Wallace, who quoted John Oberly, superintendent of Indian schools.
Indian schools needed to wean students from “the degrading communism of the tribal reservation system” and to imbue him “with the exalting egotism of American civilization, so that he will say, ‘I’ instead of ‘We,’ and ‘This is mine,’ instead of ‘This is ours,’” Oberly argued in 1888.
DISENFRANCHISED
The other advantage of having Indians embrace the idea of becoming citizens of the United States was more subtle: they would no longer think of themselves as members of sovereign nations with the power to deny the United States the natural resources and land it needed to recover from the Civil War and to grow into an industrialized power, said Pasfield, a Bay Mills tribal member,
“In the setting of what was essentially a prison for children in most schools, these institutions would separate very young Indian children from their understanding of their basic human rights, as well as their political identity,” Pasfield said. “The government’s interest in the welfare of post-Indian-war, post-plague, hungry Indian kids was secondary. History is very clear that much more was at stake.
“After the Civil War, the U.S. economy was in a shambles. The country was divided between North and South. As the country started to industrialize and waves of poor immigrants flooded American shores at the end of the 1800s, there was a tremendous need for lumber, metals, and land—all plentiful within tribal holdings. Federal and local politicians and policy makers worked together to find ways to take tribal assets. Boarding schools were at least as much about separating Indian kids from their understanding of their political and legal rights as they were about cultural assimilation to white ways.”
Indians on the Bay Mills reservation lost their most valuable land to speculators and the Methodist and Catholic denominations, which were assigned to work as the tribe’s agents, Pasfield said.
“The tribe ended up quite literally with a swamp. People were sick and dying there, and the government wouldn’t enforce our treaty rights. Our people weren’t allowed to fish unless they bought a $20 fishing license — an impossible amount to pay in the Depression.”

BOARDING SCHOOL LIFE
At government boarding schools, Indian children wore uniforms and marched on command. Because government schools had miniscule budgets, the food was meager and disease rampant. The death rate of Indian children in the government boarding schools was as high or higher than some of the more notorious Nazi concentration camps—and not for a single decade, but for four to five decades, according to the book, Kill the Indian, Save the Man by Ward Churchill.
Youngsters entered school at the age of seven and walked into a culture of strict rules and rote learning. Holy Childhood boarding students didn’t have to wear a uniform, but each was assigned a number. Despite the strict atmosphere, almost all remember the fun times of taking long walks, sledding, and ice skating. Some students say they gained a solid education and that the school saved their lives — one man told a reporter he was dropped off at the school at the age of seven, never to see his parents again, and owes his life to the nuns.
Yet others remember a current of fear in the school and getting berated as “heathens” and “worthless savages.” Still others recall physical and/or sexual abuse. (See previous articles in this series in the archives of the Northern Express features at http://www.northernexpress.com.)
The Gaylord Diocese, which now oversees the Holy Childhood parish, forwards complaints about the Holy Childhood nuns to the School Sisters of Notre Dame to investigate since it ran the school. Because the Diocese of Gaylord was not established until 1971, alleged occurrences prior to that time are given to the Diocese of Grand Rapids, wrote Diocese spokeswoman Candace Neff in an email.

RELIGIOUS ABUSE?
Adams theorizes, but has no proof, that abuse was more pervasive in the Christian boarding schools than the government-run schools.
“That surprises people when I say that, but the reason is that in the federal system, there was a bureaucratized process for protesting certain behaviors and conducting investigations. That did not exist in the Catholic system. Oddly enough, I think it was easier to get away with it in the Catholic rather than the federal schools.”
Many parents saw the schools as key to their economic survival and were grateful for the boarding school. Others felt coerced. If they refused to send their child, they’d lose government rations or be required to put their children into foster care. Runaways were punished severely. Each time a child ran away from the Mount Pleasant Indian Boarding School, for example, they were forced to repeat their grade, Pasfield said.
“My great uncle was 18 when he ran away from Mt. Pleasant Indian school for the last time. The school didn’t go beyond the eighth grade. Though he was old enough to vote and enlist in the service, they sent the Grand Rapids police after him to bring him back.”
Yvonne Walker Keshick, a former Holy Childhood student, encourages former students to obtain their school records, which can be done by contacting the Gaylord Catholic Diocese.
Keshick is compiling a family history and asked the Diocese of her deceased father, Levi Walker, at least four years ago. She is still waiting for a response. She believes family members should have access to school records.

SLAVE LABOR?
Captain Pratt believed in preparing students for a work life by hiring them out to families in the summertime. Experiences varied widely, depending on the boarding school. Some learned a lifelong skill. Adams wrote that the work program helped white people accept Indians into the community. But other students were exploited, forced to work at starvation wages, or to learn useless skills, Adams wrote.
“Some of these kids were being taught skills that were worthless in the new economy, such as how to be blacksmiths after the Model T was taking over,” Pasfield said.
“Keep in mind that while white children were learning skills that could lead to middle class or white collar jobs, Indians were being taught to be underclass laborers-gardeners, nannies and laundresses. You have to ask how this made any sense. Who in a remote reservation community is going to have money to hire these nannies and gardeners?”
Students at Holy Childhood had jobs to do each day, but they weren’t hired out to the community. Chores were neither excessive nor cruel except when meted out as punishment, Keshick said.
“Everybody worked. Each person had a job from fifth through eighth grade, and each had a child to take care of. Mondays we did sewing. Saturdays were the hardest with laundry and ironing. The girls all did the domestic duties — peeling potatoes or cutting up carrots and celery for soup. It wasn’t hard.”
Sammy Toineeta, who co-founded the Indian Boarding School Healing Project, said she had a daily ironing quota to meet at the age of 8 at the St. Joseph’s boarding school in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

POOR RESULTS
In 1923, the government commissioned a survey of government boarding schools to see how students fared after attending a boarding school. Had they learned employable skills? Were they self-sufficient? Did they return to the reservation to preach the good tidings of the white society? The answer of the landmark Meriam Report was a resounding no.
“An overwhelming majority of the Indians are poor, even extremely poor, and they are not adjusted to the economic and social system of the dominant white civilization,” the report authors wrote.
One inherent problem was the schools’ reliance on rote learning, unquestioning obedience and “training” for drudgery jobs. It squelched all “initiative and independence in students” — necessary skills to succeed as an adult, Adams wrote.
Over the ensuing decades, most of the off-reservation boarding schools closed. Private boarding schools and at least two government boarding schools remain, but community members were finally allowed some control in the 1960s. The curriculum now includes Indian music, language and traditional stories. Ironically, some Indians learn for the first time what it means to be an Indian, Adams said.
In an interview with the Express, Adams said he attempted to give a balanced treatment in his book of the boarding school experience. He remains disturbed, however, by the inhumanity of taking very small children from their parents by force.
“It was a terribly traumatic time for children. There were dormitories where children cried themselves to sleep and wet the bed. The other part is the cultural arrogance thing. The institutions were based on the concept that Indians were savages and schools symbolized civilization. Indians had to abandon their culture, the ways of their parents for the white man’s way.
“On their own, minority groups become bi-cultural. People are able to build something on to their existing self, rather than erasing what they bring to the table. This thing of carting kids off the reservation, miles away from school—I think they would have done much better, in the long run, to keep the schools on the reservation.”

Former boarding school students are encouraged to check out boardingschoolhealingproject.org.

When Teen Dating Turns Violent

Chicago Tribune
Friday February 20,2008
By Megan Twohey and Bonnie Miller Rubin

1 in 10 teens suffer abuse in romantic relationships, and many think it’s often justified.
Two of three programs created by the federal Violence Against Women Act in 2005 to address teen dating violence were never funded.
“This incident has brought the issue into sharp focus.” said Esta Solar president of the California based Family Violence Prevention Fund. “This type of education is not happening in any broad or consistent way. We need to take it to a scale, to make sure it’s happening in every community.”

Warning Signs Sources of Help
Signs of an abusive relationship
1. Your boyfriend or girlfriend: hits, slaps,pushes or kicks you.
2.Controls where you go, what you wear and what you do.
3.Tries to stop you from seeing or talking to family of friends.
4. Calls you derogatory names.
5. Sends repeated text messages.
6. Forces you to do something sexual when you don’t want to.
Signs that your friend or child may be in an abusive relationship.
1. Apologizes for his or her behavior and/or makes excuses for them.
2. Frequently cancels plans at the last minute for reasons that sound untrue.
3. Seems worried about upsetting him or her and making them angry.
4. Giving up things that used to be important to him or her and becoming increasingly isolated.
5. Weight, appearance or grades have changed dramatically. These could be signs of depression, which could indicate abuse.
6. Injuries that he or she cannot explain, or the explanations given don’t make sense.

Internet Teen Sex Trade

Feds Arrest Alleged Online Pimp In Sacramento

Stephen McKesson, 22, allegedly used online bulletin board Craigslist to market and traffic teen prostitutes in the Sacramento area.

An alleged high-tech pimp has been arrested and accused of trafficking teenage prostitutes, according to authorities.

Stephen McKesson, 22, allegedly used online bulletin board Craigslist to market and traffic teen prostitutes in the Sacramento area, some as young as 13 years old. Federal investigators accuse him of using playing cards with provocative pictures of teenagers to market them to strangers.

Investigators say they caught up with the suspect when a friend of one of the teens recognized her in an online posting and called police.

McKesson raped and beat the teens to force them to obey him, authorities said. Some of the teen girls even gave birth to his children.

He is now facing a laundry list of charges for those allegations, and is being held without bail.
CBS5
What do I think….? Call us….comment…..let us help you…..
300.000 children forced into sex slavery every year in the U.S. If we can not protect our children then what are we?

GET INVOLVED
For info on how to help or items to include in a care package, call the local Coalition Against Human Trafficking: 525-4807

Send your tax-deductible donations to the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking to: 9260 Cove Ave., Pensacola, Fla., 32514

Cyber sex case stumps parents

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
By Erin Richards
2/6/09

Since Anthony Stancl former New Berlin Eisenhower High School student was charged Wednesday facing charges for using facebook to sexually assault peers.
Stancl, 18 was charged by Waukesha County district attorney Wednesday with posing as a female on facebook, a social networking site, persuading at least 31 teenage boys from Eisenhower to send him nude photos of themselves and the threaten to release those pictures to the public unless the victims agreed to perform sex acts with him.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
by Jacqui Seibel
2/7/09
The Waukesha County district attorney said Friday that he hopes to prosecute without having to call victims on stand……”For child victims of sexual abuse, we have to find a way so they don’t have to relive this in the courtroom,” District Attorney Brad Schilmel said.
Authorities think there was more boys but no more have come forward, the boys ages were from age 13 to 19…..about 300 photo’s were found on Stencl’s computer.
PARENTS TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN!
GET CYBER SMART!
TEENAGERS GET CYBER SMART!
REPORT CYBER SEXUAL PREDATORS THE LINKS ARE UNDER THE BLOGROLL.
STOP SENDING NUDE PHOTO’S INTO CYBERSPACE.

Report Cyberbullying and Online Sexual Predators

Smart moves

Following are tips from the National Assn. of School Psychologists on protecting your kids online, even if your own online skills lag behind theirs.

* Keep computers in easily viewable places, such as the family room or kitchen.

* Talk regularly with your children about the online activities in which they are involved and Internet etiquette in general. Children should know the rule that many adults have learned from painful experience: Do not say online what you would not say in person.

* Encourage children to be self-protective. Remind them that anything they say on the Internet or in phone text messages can be shared with others and misused. Ask them to consider if they want what they are saying and doing broadly disseminated. If not, they probably should not say or post it.

* Be specific about the risks of cyber-bullying and their need to tell you if something that bothers them occurs.

* Respect for adolescents’ privacy is important. But tell children that you may review their online communications if you have reason for concern.

* Set clear expectations for responsible online behavior and phone use and consequences for violating those expectations.

* Consider establishing a parent-child Internet use contract.

* Consider installing parental-control filtering software or tracking programs but do not rely solely on these tools.

* Be aware of warning signs that might indicate your son or daughter is being bullied, such as reluctance to use the computer, a change in the child’s behavior and mood, or reluctance to go to school.

* Document the bullying.

* Be equally alert to the possibility that your child could be bullying others online, even if unintentionally.

* Understand current local laws and your school policies. Work with your school to develop policies if they don’t exist.

* If you have concerns, contact your child’s school to enlist the help of the school psychologist, school counselor, principal or resource officer.

* File a complaint with the website, Internet service provider or cellphone company if you learn of problematic behavior.

* Contact police if the cyber-bullying includes threats.

The Congressionally mandated CyberTipline is a reporting mechanism for cases of child sexual exploitation including child pornography, online enticement of children for sex acts, molestation of children outside the family, sex tourism of children, child victims of prostitution, and unsolicited obscene material sent to a child. Reports may be made 24-hours per day, 7 days per week online at http://www.cybertipline.com or by calling 1-800-843-5678.