I attended a Cyberbullying Conference at the University of Penn on April 27, 2010. Before arriving, my expectations were not that high as I anticipated hearing the same message that I have heard at other conferences on this issue, “The Internet is dangerous,” “Protect your kids – limit their usage,” “Don’t let them use Facebook.” However, within a few minutes of hearing Sameer speak, I was encouraged that the message he presented was going in a different direction. He was not trying to “taint” the Internet or discourage it’s use. Rather, he promoted the importance of open dialog with our children and education on proper use. He highlighted the need for adults to be “safe havens” where children feel they can go when a problem does arise on the Internet, without the fear that they, as the victim, would be punished by losing their access to technology. He didn’t only talk about cyberbullying as being a problem, but he offered solutions. Good, applicable guidelines that educators, parents and students alike could implement. I appreciate the work he is doing in this field and his willingness to share many resources -for free – with others. I left the conference with a renewed sense of hope in being able to offer valuable feedback and resources not only to the youth and families that I work with, but to my own family as well.
Elizabeth J. T. Valdez, M.Ed., N.C.C., L.P.C.,Student Assistance Program Consultant, Pennsylvania Counseling Services