Fighting Cyberbullying in the Age of Distance Learning

David’s Legacy Foundation is leading the effort to prevent cyberbullying through education, legal action, and legislation. During this school year, cyberbullying is a greater danger than ever: many students are still participating in distance learning, and children and teens are having less face-to-face interaction and spending more free time online. Parents and schools need to stay vigilant and work together to keep kids safe. The online resources at the David’s Legacy Foundation website are an essential source of information for parents to learn about cyberbullying and find ways to take action.

Parent Resources From David’s Legacy Foundation

Bullying is a painful topic. We don’t want it to happen to our children, but we have to think about it to prepare for it. Everyone who cares for children should get familiar with the parent resources on the David’s Legacy website so they can be equipped to prevent cyberbullying, identify it when it starts to happen, and respond appropriately.

It’s essential for every family to educate themselves about cyberbullying, because the danger is everywhere. David’s Legacy Foundation commemorates the life of David Barrett Molak, who took his life in 2016 after being the victim of cyberbullying. David’s family members, including his mom, Maurine Molak, banded together and dedicated themselves to preventing bullying, including cyberbullying. David’s Law, passed in 2017, amended the Education Code to give schools more tools for fighting cyberbullying, even when it happens off campus. Additional legislation passed in 2019 was designed to improve school safety and included provisions about digital citizenship curriculum developed by David’s Legacy Foundation.

On the David’s Legacy Foundation website, the parent resources page has blog posts and links to organizations offering expert advice about cyberbullying. We encourage you to bookmark and explore the page yourselves, but here are some links that we found especially timely and helpful:

Family Conversations About Cyberbullying

Absorbing the information in the parent resources is good preparation for having family conversations about cyberbullying as part of a larger effort to build good digital citizenship skills. Kids need to know that whatever they post online could have consequences that follow them for a long time.

As soon as your children are issued devices for distance learning, they need supervision and coaching from their parents about using the devices safely. Despite being stretched too thin by the pandemic, families need to look for signs that their children may be the victims of bullying. Kids may not know that what they are suffering from is actually bullying.

When your kids do talk to you about cyberbullying, be supportive of them, and let them know you will help. Parents can coach their children about what to do if they are being bullied: don’t retaliate, but do ask the person to stop, and block them if necessary. Keep records and be prepared to make reports to schools and law enforcement.

What to do if you are being bullied - David's Legacy Foundation

Take Action to Prevent Cyberbullying

David’s Legacy Foundation is leading the effort to prevent cyberbullying through education, legislation, and legal action. Please follow them on social media: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

This year, David’s Legacy Foundation is organizing virtual events. They have hosted a series of online viewings of documentary films, including an upcoming screening of The Upstanders, on October 1, 2020 at 5:30 PM Central. All of the screenings have also included an online discussion with a panel of experts.

Victims of cyberbullying can get protection in the courts from the Don’t Bully Me (DBM) Project. Recently, attorney Jimmy Carter, acting pro bono, helped a student get an injunction her aggressor.

As members of the community, we can take action to prevent cyberbullying. We can find out who our legislators are and speak up about the need to strengthen cyberbullying legislation. As an example: What if it was the perpetrator who had to change schools, not the victim? Additionally, we organize presentations, start a yard sign campaign, and donate to David’s Legacy Foundation. We can take a pledge to never use our device as a weapon.

Parents who are educating themselves about cyberbullying are welcome to join the conversation in the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook. Members can ask questions about and offer comments to help each other. Our community rules are designed to help members feel safe, and we have moderators supervising the discussion.

On top of all the other challenges we are facing as parents—how to keep our kids safe and learning effectively during a pandemic—we need to be more vigilant than ever to protect our kids from cyberbullying. Maurine Molak and the team at David’s Legacy Foundation are working fearlessly to eliminate bullying, including cyberbullying. Let’s study the parent resources on their site and work together to spread the word about how to keep kids safe from cyberbullying.

Charter Moms Chats

Watch Maurine Molak speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on September 23, 2020 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.

Maurine Molak and her family founded David’s Legacy Foundation in honor of their late son and brother, David, who died by suicide after months of relentless cyberbullying. The foundation’s mission is to eliminate cyber and other bullying of children and teens, through education, legislation, and legal action.

Read More About Preventing Cyberbullying

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