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KUSA - On the one hand, being able to contact your kids 24/7 puts many parents' minds at ease. Smartphones are a great way of reassuring parents that when their child is in any trouble, they can just reach out for help. However, being switched on all the time also means your child is accessible to others too.

GUEST POST from Joanne White of Mediamum.net.
White is an academic specializing in social media research at the University of Colorado Boulder

Friends turn into enemies very quickly in the lives of our young people - and sometimes just as quickly back into friends again. Bullying can come out of nowhere, from someone you thought was your child's friend - and it can escalate very quickly thanks to the constant presence of the smartphone.

Here are three strategic tips to work with your child in managing their smartphone to help protect them from bullying. Nothing is foolproof, but if you make sure your child knows you want to team up with them rather than purely hold them accountable, they'll be likely to share concerns with you readily rather than letting something get out of control.

  1. Friend slowly, block quickly. Learn how to block numbers and people on your phone, and don't hesitate to do so. Some people are still learning how best to use mobile and digital technologies, and they forget their manners. They may be testing some boundaries, or just seeing if they can get under your skin. Don't question why they are doing it, become a blocker!
  2. Don't engage in a conversation with a bully. If any message makes you uncomfortable in any way, don't bother trying to correct the sender, just block them from sending you more. It's your phone, not theirs, and you are responsible for your reaction to inappropriate messages. Blocking them is not rude - the message that led to you blocking them was.
  3. Don't hand your number out to everyone. If you wouldn't want to have that person holding your hand through every day, then you don't want to have them living in your pocket - which is where your smartphone lives. If you get messages from people you don't know, don't answer, just block them. If it happens regularly, talk to parents and then contact the service provider.

Read all of this article here: http://on9news.tv/Ms8Rr3.

A bill being discussed in Colorado's legislature that would crack down on cyber-bullying. HB 1131 would create a class 2 misdemeanor for using online services to harass a child.

Bill would treat cyber-bullying as harassment: http://on9news.tv/1o4kzo9

Lawmakers, schools address cyber bullying: Will it work?:http://on9news.tv/1dzXh4K

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