Soon to be teachers learn warning signs of cyberbullying

By Julia Bruck - bioemail

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - They are terms you have heard before--cyberbullying and sexting.  However, they are becoming more and more of a problem in local schools.

On Wednesday, some teaching students at Southern Illinois University took a break from the three "R's" to learn how to spot the warning signs.

Officials in mass believe there has been another tragic case of cyber bulling.

These days reports about cyberbullying are sadly not uncommon.

As a result, new laws were written and these soon to be teachers at SIU get one more lesson before they graduate to their own classroom.

"It is very difficult for students at first to realize that they are no longer carefree college students but they are entering a profession that they are responsible for the lives and the safety of children,"  said Dr, Jan Waggoner, SIU Director of Teacher Education.

To help with that transition, dozens of student teachers listen to a presentation from the Illinois State Police.

The topics were cyberbullying, sexting and internet safety.

All things, Waggoner says teacher now must understand and be able identify the red flags.

"There are some behavioral changes, there are some things they can look for, and then they can take the appropriate steps to try to help the student," Waggoner said.

"It really is a problem and it's an issue that we need to be aware as far as teachers in the classroom," said Lacey Flores, SIU Early Childhood Education student.

Flores will soon graduate from SIU and plans to teach young minds in public schools.  But says she is appalled by how the internet and cell phones are used to harm kids.

She plans to use Wednesday's information to educated parents and hopefully protect her future students.

"It makes you open your eyes to see these children and to help them any way you can," Flores said.

According to the National Crime Council, boys typically bully by sending sexual type messages or by threatening to fight or hurt someone.  Meanwhile, girls often bully by spreading rumors and sending messages that make fun of someone or exclude others.

The council also suggests to know who your kids they are chatting with and understand their online jargon.  Experts also recommend keeping an eye on your child's cell phone and text messages.

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