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Cyber-Bullying Concerns

It’s hard to believe it’s come to this, but nowadays, some people are actually wistful for the “good old days” when bullying was confined to the playground; thanks to the advent of the internet age, even the former safety of a child’s home offers little refuge from schoolyard tormentors.

As a part of her ongoing efforts to address the onset of Cyber-Bullying in recent years, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice hosted a seminar on the subject at Temple Judea in Manhasset on a recent Tuesday evening. Rice welcomed attending parents from Roslyn, Albertson, and other villages in the Roslyn area.

“I’m so happy to see so many of you here tonight to learn about an issue that it just growing every single day with technology,” she said. “It’s good to see that so many of you are willing to learn about it sot that you can protect your kids and yourselves.”

While the children of Roslyn resident Bea Baitz are all fully-grown, she attended the seminar nonetheless not only for the sake of her grandchildren, but her great-grandchildren as well.

“I’m interested in knowing what to do about bullying...internet bullying, regular bullying, whatever it is, I try to educate myself in case, heaven forbid, someone close to me has to go through it, I can help them,” she said. “My grandchildren aren’t experiencing bullying...at least, not yet. And I hope they never do, but if they encounter it, I want to be there.”

Glen Wolfe of Roslyn is a member of Temple Judea, and made a point of attending District Attorney Rice’s seminar for a very important reason — his daughter, with whom he shares a close relationship, he said.

“I’m interested in learning more about the internet, and what takes place there, being a father,” he said. “My daughter hasn’t had any experience with bullying yet, but it does take place, and she and I talk about it. I always bring it up, and I ask if she’s seen any bullying, because if she did, I would get involved, and seminars like Kathleen Rice’s will help me best understand how to help.”

Jodi Lipkin of Roslyn came to the seminar after reading an advertisement for it in a local paper; she attended not only for information on how to combat Cyber-Bullying, but to also to get a feel for District Attorney Rice in person, who is currently running for re-election.

“I’m not sure what my opinion is of her, and I thought this might help me form one,” she said. “My kids are older and they never went through cyber-bullying...they went through bullying in other ways, but not through the internet because they’re in their 20’s now. But I still thought that it was an interesting issue, because in my line of work, I deal with children every day, and I’d like to learn about the things these kids deal with on a daily basis.

Rice then turned the microphone over to the man who would be giving the evening’s presentation on Cyber-Bullying — Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Glicksman, Chief of the Nassau County Money Laundering and Cyber Crimes Unit.

Glicksman went over a great many of the new aspects the internet brings into the everyday life of young people, such as the proliferation of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and how to responsibly use them; how to identify if your child is the victim of cyber-bullying and how best to properly assist them when they need help; keeping track of your child’s internet habits; and the dangers of ‘sexting,’ which is when kids take inappropriate pictures of themselves and send them to their friends.

“One of the main driving forces behind cyber-bullying is the fact that people think they are anonymous on the internet, so they can get away with saying or doing anything,” he said. “But they’re wrong...when you put something on the internet, it’s up there forever, and there are consequences...we can find you. In the Nassau County Cyber Crimes department, we do it every day.”

Bea Baitz said that she came out of the seminar enlightened and armed with the information she needs to help her grandchildren deal with the threat of a cyber bully, if ever the need should arise.

“A lot of people my age don’t keep up with the advances in technology, and I attend events like this to keep abreast so if my grandkids need my help, I’m there,” she said. “I found this event very helpful and informative, and I feel like I can be a help to my family if they ever ran into an issue with a bully on the internet.”