Saturday, May 9, 2015

Katey McPherson is my daughter. She works daily to help prevent cyber bullying. She has run Expos over the past few years to teach students and parents about bullying and its prevention. Cyber bullying is the most difficult to track, and it often takes place after hours. She lists here some tools for parents who may not be aware of all of the tricks of the trade. Katey is a middle school administrator and a college teacher. She is a mother and anti-bully activist. I am very proud of the work she is doing to protect our children.

Excerpt from a recent article in the Phoenix newspaper:

Experts say any involvement from schools is a step in the right direction, but it does not replace parental supervision.
"Any early intervention is good from the school's part, but it has to be done in tandem with parent supervision," said Katey McPherson, an assistant principal in Gilbert Public Schools.
McPherson co-authored the book "WTF: Why Teens Fail, What to Fix," which discusses bullying prevention and tips for parents to keep preteens and teens safe. She said she was prompted to write the book after a student who had been cyber bullied brought a knife to school and threatened to commit suicide in the bathroom.
"That is the most extreme example that I have actually experienced," McPherson said. "But pretty much every day I get one or two issues with bullying or saying mean things on social media that affects the kids at school. It can really turn a whole grade level upside down."
In addition to cyber bullying, McPherson said she has seen other dangerous behavior on social media, including sexting and sending inappropriate pictures on apps such as Snapchat. She stressed that most cyber bullying takes place after school or on weekends, so there is not much schools can do to stop it unless it is reported.
"I would tell parents it's foolish to think that just because you know your kids' phone pass codes and are friends with them on Facebook, then you don't need to worry," McPherson said. "You need to make sure you are up to date on the apps they are using and check in with them. I also recommend parents do not allow phones or electronic devices in children's rooms or behind locked doors. At night, put all the phones in a central charging station. Most issues we see at school could be prevented if the parents were knowledgeable about what students were posting."
McPherson said in addition to programs for elementary- and middle-school children, she would like to eventually have a program at the beginning of the school year for parents who might be out of touch with social-media trends.
7th graders Victoria White and Bryn Parker work together on a digital-literacy program designed to teach security, ethics, and courtesy while using online technologies at Explorer Middle School, Thursday, March 19th, 2015, in Paradise Valley, Ariz. (Photo: Jeffrey Lowman/The Republic)