Juvenile arrested in cyber bullying case

Published 6:44 pm Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A juvenile has been arrested by the Demopolis Police Department after an investigation that involved Internet harassment.

The case involved using false identities on Internet chat sites with the intent to harass and annoy several area youth. The DPD Criminal Investigation Division conducted the investigation.

DPD Chief Tommie Reese said cyber bullying isn’t something he’s seen much of in Demopolis. He added that parents should try to be more aware of what their children are doing while using the Internet.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers the following tips on how parents and children can prevent cyber bullying:

•Know the sites your kids visit and their online activities. Ask where they’re going, what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with.

•Tell your kids that as a responsible parent you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern. Installing parental control filtering software or monitoring programs are one option for monitoring your child’s online behavior, but do not rely solely on these tools.

•Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use.

•Ask for their passwords, but tell them you’ll only use them in case of emergency.

•Ask to “friend” or “follow” your kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.

•Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or cell phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.

•Establish rules about technology use. Be clear about what sites they can visit and what they are permitted to do when they’re online. Show them how to be safe online.

•Help them be smart about what they post or say. Tell them not to share anything that could hurt or embarrass themselves or others. Once something is posted, it is out of their control whether someone else will forward it.

•Encourage kids to think about who they want to see the information and pictures they post online. Should complete strangers see it? Real friends only? Friends of friends? Think about how people who aren’t friends could use it.

•Tell kids to keep their passwords safe and not share them with friends. Sharing passwords can compromise their control over their online identities and activities.

Reese added that if a child feels they are a subject of bullying, they should tell a parent, a teacher, school counselor or a School Resource Officer.

The juvenile was arrested for harassing communications, and the prosecution will be forwarded to the Marengo County Juvenile Probation Office.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a website with information about cyber bullying and how to prevent it.