St. Vincent’s Home to host session on cyber-bullying


By Dave Jolivet
Anchor Editor
davejolivet@anchornews.org

FALL RIVER, Mass. — It’s a world that many parents of young children today never experienced. While bullying is sadly nothing new, the methods have changed and are sometimes more stealth than in days past.

Again sadly, it’s not that uncommon to hear or read in the news about a young person who took their own life or tried to, because they were bullied and shamed and lied about on the Internet.

Not every cyber-bullying occurrence ends so tragically, but daily, young girls and boys are demeaned and made to doubt their self-worth through the thoughtless and vile words of their peers.

Yet other cyber dangers lurk in unknown adult predators who are at the ready to pounce on unsuspecting and naive Internet users.

To help parents, grandparents, guardians, teachers and anyone who holds the safety of children in high regard, St. Vincent’s Home in Fall River is hosting an information session on bullying with regards to the Internet on May 23 at Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River, from 6-7:30 p.m.

The title of the session is “Keeping Your Family Safe Online: What Every Parent Should Know.”

“Through our community involvement as well as being a provider of mental health services for children and youth in the surrounding areas we have experienced working with youth who have been impacted by the negative aspects and misuse of social media,” Jenny Reis, director of Development at St. Vincent’s Home told The Anchor. “Our goal is to ensure parents are aware of how their children may be using social media and how to protect them and safeguard their online presence.”

The presenter is an individual who has myriad experience dealing with the subject matter — Richard Guerry, founder of the Institute for Responsible Online and Cell-Phone Communication (IROC2), a national organization that last year received the Anti-Bullying Award from the School Safety Advocacy.

Guerry worked in the information technology field during the 1990s when the Internet was beginning to expand at an exponential rate, taking with it its good and bad features.

On the IROC2 website (iroc2.org) it says that Guerry, during his tenure, “encountered the darkest areas of the Internet and discovered countless individuals unknowingly being manipulated and schemed, and their content being stolen and exploited. In 2009, Richard left corporate America, and applied his vast experience and knowledge of digital safety to serve as the executive director of IROC2.org.”

Guerry now travels the country speaking to parents, educators, students, child advocates and law enforcement officials “on the importance of maintaining digital consciousness to prevent and avoid current and future digital issues.”

Guerry has spoken to more than 3,000 audiences since 2009 in the U.S. and Canada. His listeners range from Internet novices to avid users. The IROC2 site says Guerry provides his audiences “with an entertaining and eye-opening live event that offers a solution-oriented concept of how to avoid any self-inflicted digital problem, which is critical to anyone who uses a digital service.”

Reis told The Anchor that Guerry is the, “author of multiple cyber safety books and has been a feature speaker at numerous national and international conferences. He has also appeared as an expert of Radio Disney, CNN, FOX, CBS, MTV, as well as in Parade Magazine and many local, regional, and international publications.

“With the increase in social media use, the ever-increasing number of apps and their impact on society there is constant discussion regarding social media and its effects on the children and youth we serve. I had been fortunate to see this presentation a couple years ago and I left knowing so much more about social media and its impact. We felt this is a topic that many parents are interested in learning more about and that the presentation will allow them to leave with a better understanding of social media and how to protect their family.”  

In its brochure (which can be found at stvincentshome.org) promoting the event, St. Vincent’s Home advises that, “The multi-award winning program will eliminate the myths that anonymity, social privacy and disappearing digital content is possible with digital tools and apps. Parents will gain knowledge to promote responsible use of digital tools while also obtaining the wisdom to prevent negative, irresponsible and malicious digital behaviors and trends.”

The session will also provide attendees with information on preventing cyber cruelty; PC and mobile security; permanence of digital content; public database and digital transparency; preventing abuse of current and future apps; and poor social media and over-sharing behaviors.

For more information, or to register visit stvincentshome.org, or call 508-679-8511. For more on Guerry and IROC2, visit iroc2.org.


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