RSS

Tag Archives: continuing education

A Short Course on Encryption and Cloud Storage

Course excerpt from Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8

Encryption and cloud storage is a complicated area because it requires an analysis of the interplay of several variables, including confidentiality, encryption, cloud storage and HIPAA. Each of these variables is complex, but there are ways to make the situation more manageable.

Cloud storageEncryption and cloud storage. Let’s consider a few common questions:

“For the purposes of HIPAA, if you have adequately encrypted your data, does your cloud storage provider need to sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA)?”

The bottom line is that there is no crystal-clear answer to this question. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hasn’t specifically addressed this issue, so we are faced with the question of how to interpret the security rule.

There are two basic interpretations: “no,” and “yes.” Both have some support, and if you proceed with one interpretation you should consider the countervailing position.

First, the basics: HIPAA Covered Entities (CEs) who work with vendors are required to have their vendors sign BAAs. This is required because it allows the federal government to enforce the provisions of HIPAA on these third-party vendors.

The public policy at work is that CEs shouldn’t be allowed to offload their legal responsibilities to a third party that isn’t subject to regulatory oversight. BAAs are required whenever a third-party vendor has access to Protected Health Information (PHI).

Here’s where it gets complicated. PHI is identifiable data, but if the data are encrypted they are not identifiable. In such a case, why is a BAA necessary?

The interpretation against requiring a BAA for encrypted data finds some support in one of HIPAA’s safe harbor provisions, which states that losses of encrypted data do not trigger a breach notification (the letter CEs send out that apologetically admits to the disclosure of protected health information).

The reason why breach notifications is not required for encrypted data are that the data remain inaccessible if encrypted. The covered entity has essentially lost gibberish.

Thus, this interpretation goes, BAAs are also not required because the vendor does not have access to protected health information. That makes sense. However, it should be noted that this is a fairly permissive interpretation and HHS has declined to endorse this position.

The competing interpretation, which appears to be strongly supported by the official commentary on related regulations (especially the 2013 HITECH amendments to the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules), is that BAAs are required even when the data are encrypted.

Support for this position includes: HHS has not made the criteria for breach notifications the same as the criteria for needing a BAA.

The statutory exceptions for BAAs, such as those with incidental access (e.g., a janitor or electrician) or those who are mere “conduits,” do not apply to cloud storage providers. HHS has indicated that a data storage company is not a conduit because of the “persistent nature” of its contact with the data. Thus, it is persistency, and not the degree of access, that HHS has specifically indicated warrants consideration for the purposes of BAAs.

Commentary prior to the adoption of the security rule asked whether or not BAAs could be something that CEs could address, and thus render unnecessary. In other words, the question was asked, “if we as CEs take adequate security measures to ensure the protection of PHI, can we make BAAs unnecessary?” HHS specifically declined to make BAAs an “addressable” requirement.

Besides the issue of protecting PHI, BAs have additional responsibilities. These responsibilities include accessibility, data integrity, etc. If encryption enabled vendors to escape “business associate” (BA) status, HHS would have no jurisdiction. (From a risk management perspective, the execution of a BAA is something that many CEs do to “distribute” the risk.)

The definition of BA isn’t explicitly restricted to those who have access to PHI. The definition also includes those who perform “any other function or activity regulated by this subchapter.” (See 45 CFR 160.103(1)(i)(B)) The amount of functions and activities that are regulated under HIPAA is huge.

I want to emphasize that I understand the argument that where vendors have absolutely no access to PHI because the data are encrypted, the vendor doesn’t have encryption keys, etc., then HIPAA is (theoretically) a non-issue. It makes a lot of sense. However, we just don’t know at this time if HHS agrees with that position and we have some strong evidence that casts this position as too narrow.

However, the ambiguity also applies to the other interpretation: We don’t know if HHS agrees with the position that the storage of encrypted PHI (where the vendor has zero access to the PHI) still requires a BAA.

I hope this helps or at least provides some things to consider.


By Adam Alban, PhD, JD

Adam Alban, PhD, JD, hosts a website of general information for mental health professionals in California. He has an M.A. and PhD in clinical psychology from Michigan State University and a JD from American University in Washington, D.C. He operates a law practice specializing in legal assistance to mental health practitioners and also has a clinical psychology practice, the Alban Psychology Group. He may be reached at: alban@clinicallawyer.com.


Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8 is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that addresses a wide variety of ethics and risk management topics, written by experts in the field.

This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion.

Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Impact of Suicide

By Laura More, MSW, LCSW

Suicide PreventionThe health and economic consequences of suicide are substantial. Suicide and suicide attempts have far reaching consequences for individuals, families, and communities. In an early study, Crosby and Sacks (2002) estimated that 7% of the U.S. adult population, or 13.2 million adults, knew someone in the prior 12 months who had died by suicide. They also estimated that for each suicide, 425 adults were exposed, or knew about the death. In a more recent study in one state, researchers found that 48% of the population knew at least one person who died by suicide in their lifetime. Research also indicates that the impact of knowing someone who died by suicide and/or having lived experience (by personally having attempted suicide, having had suicidal thoughts, or having been impacted by suicidal loss) is much more extensive than injury and death. People with lived experience may suffer long-term health and mental health consequences ranging from anger, guilt, and physical impairment, depending on the means and severity of the attempt (Stone, Holland, Bartholow, et al., 2017).

The economic toll of suicide on society is immense as well. According to conservative estimates, in 2013, suicide cost $50.8 billion in estimated lifetime medical and work-loss costs alone (Florence, Simon, Haegerich, Luo & Zhou, 2015). Adjusting for potential under-reporting of suicide and drawing upon health expenditures per capita, gross domestic product per capita, and variability among states in per capita health care expenditures and income, another study estimated the total lifetime costs associated with nonfatal injuries and deaths caused by self-directed violence to be approximately $93.5 billion in 2013 (Shepard, Gurewich, Lwin, Reed & Silverman, 2016). The overwhelming burden of these costs were from lost productivity over the life course, with the average cost per suicide being over $1.3 million. The true economic costs are likely higher, as neither study included monetary figures related to other societal costs such as those associated with the pain and suffering of family or other impacts (Stone, Holland, Bartholow, et al., 2017).

Suicide Prevention: Evidence-Based StrategiesSuicide Prevention: Evidence-Based Strategies is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that reviews evidence-based research and offers strategies for screening, assessment, treatment, and prevention of suicide in both adolescents and adults. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In 2015, 44,193 people killed themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, “Suicide is a serious but preventable public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities.” People who attempt suicide but do not die face potentially serious injury or disability, depending on the method used in the attempt. Depression and other mental health issues follow the suicide attempt. Family, friends, and coworkers are negatively affected by suicide. Shock, anger, guilt, and depression arise in the wake of this violent event. Even the community as a whole is affected by the loss of a productive member of society, lost wages not spent at local businesses, and medical costs. The CDC estimates that suicides result in over 44 billion dollars in work loss and medical costs. Prevention is key: reducing risk factors and promoting resilience. This course will provide a review of evidence-based studies on this complex subject for psychologists, marriage & family therapists, professional counselors, and social workers. Information from the suicide prevention technical package from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be provided. Included also are strategies for screening and assessment, prevention considerations, methods of treatment, and resources for choosing evidence-based suicide prevention programs. Course #30-97 | 2017 | 60 pages | 20 posttest questions

This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more.

About the Author:

Laura More, MSW, LCSW, is a healthcare author and licensed clinical social worker. Laura was one of the founding partners of Care2Learn, a provider of online continuing education courses for the post-acute healthcare industry. She now provides healthcare authoring services. She has authored over 120 online continuing education titles, co-authored evidence-based care assessment area resources and a book, The Licensed Practical Nurse in Long-term Care Field Guide. She is the recipient of the 2010 Education Award from the American College of Health Care Administrators.

CE Information:

Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Memorial Weekend CE Sale – Buy 2 Get 1 Free

Memorial Weekend CE Sale @pdresources

Celebrate and honor our fallen soldiers and kick-off the start of summer during our Memorial Weekend CE Sale where you can Buy Any 2 Courses and Get 1 FREE!

Buy 2 CE, Get 1 FREE

Have a coupon? Apply it at checkout for even greater savings > Shop now!

Choose any 3 CE courses and the lowest priced 3rd course will automatically deduct at checkout (courses must be purchased together, one free course per order). Memorial Weekend Sale ends Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Offer valid on future orders only.

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. Our purpose is to provide high quality online continuing education (CE) courses on topics relevant to members of the healthcare professions we serve. We strive to keep our carbon footprint small by being completely paperless, allowing telecommuting, recycling, using energy-efficient lights and powering off electronics when not in use. We provide online CE courses to allow our colleagues to earn credits from the comfort of their own home or office so we can all be as green as possible (no paper, no shipping or handling, no travel expenses, etc.). Sustainability isn’t part of our work – it’s a guiding influence for all of our work.

We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within one week of completion).

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in Promotions

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Kentucky Mental Health Counselors Continuing Education Requirements

 

kentuckymentalhealthcounselorscontinuingeducation_191522_f.jpg

 

Kentucky-licensed mental health counselors have an annual license renewal with an October 31st deadline. Ten (10) hours of continuing education are required to renew a license. There are no limits for online continuing education courses if NBCC or APA approved. All CE hours need to be in or related to the field of professional counseling.

Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors  
CE Required: 10 hours per year
Online CE Allowed: No limit
License Expiration: 10/31, annually
National Accreditation Accepted: NBCC, APA
Notes: All CE hours shall be in or related to the field of professional counseling
Date of Info: 11/20/2015

Kentucky counselors can earn all 10 hours required for renewal through online courses offered on the counseling page at PDResources.org. Click here to view NBCC-approved online CE courses.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

 

Continuing Education Courses for Mental Health Counselors

 

Therapy Tidbits is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE) course comprised of select articles from the July/August 2016 issue of The National Psychologist, a private, independent bi-monthly newspaper intended to keep psychologists (and other mental health professionals) informed about practice issues.

 

In the Zone: Finding Flow Through Positive Psychology is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that offers a how-to guide on incorporating flow into everyday life. According to the CDC, four out of ten people have not discovered a satisfying life purpose. Further, the APA reports that most people suffer from moderate to high levels of stress, and according to SAMSHA, adult prescription medication abuse (primarily to counteract attention deficit disorders) is one of the most concerning health problems today. And while clinicians now have a host of resources to mitigate distress and reduce symptomatology, the question remains: how do clinicians move clients beyond baseline levels of functioning to a state of fulfillment imbued with a satisfying life purpose? The answer may lie in a universal condition with unexpected benefits…This course will explore the concept of flow, also known as optimal performance, which is a condition we are all capable of, yet seldom cultivate.

 

Ethics and Social Media is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that examines the use of Social Networking Services (SNS) on both our personal and professional lives. Is it useful or appropriate (or ethical or therapeutic) for a therapist and a client to share the kinds of information that are routinely posted on SNS like Facebook, Twitter, and others? How are psychotherapists to handle “Friending” requests from clients? What are the threats to confidentiality and therapeutic boundaries that are posed by the use of social media sites, texts, or tweets in therapist-client communication?The purpose of this course is to offer psychotherapists the opportunity to examine their practices in regard to the use of social networking services in their professional relationships and communications. Included are ethics topics such as privacy and confidentiality, boundaries and multiple relationships, competence, the phenomenon of friending, informed consent, and record keeping. A final section offers recommendations and resources for the ethical use of social networking and the development of a practice social media policy.

 

The book (or e-book) can be purchased from Amazon or some other source.  This CE test is based on Rethinking Narcissism (HarperCollins 2015, 256 pp.), which has enjoyed international expert and critical acclaim for its exciting blend of empirical rigor, practical strategies, and compelling narrative style. In it you’ll discover: Throughout, you’ll find easy-to-follow templates and concrete examples for helping people who suffer from either too much—or too little—narcissism.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 12, 2016 in CE Requirements, Counseling, General

 

Tags: , ,

Arkansas SLP Continuing Education Requirements

Please Share and Follow Us:

arkansasspeechlanguagepathologistscontinuingeducat_178759_l.jpg

 

Arkansas-licensed speech language pathologists have an annual license renewal with a June 30th deadline. Ten (10) continuing education hours are required to renew a license. Fifteen (15) hours are required if dual licensed. There are no limits for online continuing education. There is a minimum of five (5) hours from Content Area I (professional) (2 related).

Speech Language Pathology & Audiology 
Arkansas Board of Examiners in SLP/A 
View the Board Website or Email the Board
Phone: 501-682-9180
CE Required: 10 hours per year (15 if dual licensed)
Online CE Allowed: No limit
License Expiration: 6/30, annually
National Accreditation Accepted: ASHA (not required)
Notes: Minimum 5 hrs from Content Area I (professional) (2 related)
Date of Info: 05/06/2015

Professional Development Resources, Inc. is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) that offers 150+ online, video and book-based continuing education courses for healthcare professionals. We are approved by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (b); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

 

Continuing Education Courses for Speech Language Pathologists

 

Cyberbullying is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews evidenced-based research for identification, management and prevention of cyberbullying in children, adolescents and adults. Bullies have moved from the playground and workplace to the online world, where anonymity can facilitate bullying behavior. Cyberbullying is intentional, repeated harm to another person using communication technology. It is not accidental or random. It is targeted to a person with less perceived power. This may be someone younger, weaker, or less knowledgeable about technology. Any communication device may be used to harass or intimidate a victim, such as a cell phone, tablet, or computer. Any communication platform may host cyberbullying: social media sites (Facebook, Twitter), applications (Snapchat, AIM), websites (forums or blogs), and any place where one person can communicate with – or at – another person electronically. The short and long-term effects of bullying are considered as significant as neglect or maltreatment as a type of child abuse. This course will describe specific cyberbullying behaviors, review theories that attempt to explain why bullying happens, list the damaging effects that befall its victims, and discuss strategies professionals can use to prevent or manage identified cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a fast-growing area of concern and all healthcare professionals should be equipped to spot the signs and provide support for our patients and clients, as well as keep up with the technology that drives cyberbullying.

 

Children with difficult temperaments and those with developmental delays may have learned to express their dissatisfaction with challenging and defiant behavior like whining, anger, temper tantrums or bad language. They sometimes engage in negative behavior or “misbehave” because they do not have the necessary skills – communicative or otherwise – to make their needs known. The purpose of this course is to teach clinicians effective and practical strategies to manage challenging and defiant behavior in their young clients. The course will also focus on how clinicians can educate parents on how to manage difficult behavior and avoid power struggles at home. The dynamics and techniques described in this course are intended for use with typically functioning children and those with developmental or language delays. They are not generally adequate or even appropriate for children with serious behavior conditions like oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorders.

 

As the population of the United States ages, more healthcare professionals find themselves treating elders. Schools, private practice, and hospitals will always be major practice settings, but the demographics of our country point to a growing need for geriatric treatment. In 2014 there were an estimated 1.5 million people in 16,000 skilled nursing facilities. By 2030 this number may be as high as 2.6 million. There is a significant need now for treatment provided by speech-language pathologists in the skilled nursing facility setting which will only grow in the years to come.Every practice setting has unique characteristics that affect clinical practice. Skilled nursing facilities have a multitude of regulations, complicated billing practices, and a culture of care that must be learned and integrated into the SLP’s treatment habits. This can make it difficult for the SLP working part-time or PRN in a skilled nursing facility. This course will provide a framework for providing care in a skilled nursing facility. It is intended to give the SLP an overview of the important aspects of long-term care that affect treatment. The average resident and common treatment areas will also be discussed.

 

What is aging? Can we live long and live well—and are they the same thing? Is aging in our genes? How does our metabolism relate to aging? Can your immune system still defend you as you age? Since the National Institute on Aging was established in 1974, scientists asking just such questions have learned a great deal about the processes associated with the biology of aging. Technology today supports research that years ago would have seemed possible only in a science fiction novel. This course introduces some key areas of research into the biology of aging. Each area is a part of a larger field of scientific inquiry. You can look at each topic individually, or you can step back to see how they fit together, interwoven to help us better understand aging processes. Research on aging is dynamic, constantly evolving based on new discoveries, and so this course also looks ahead to the future, as today’s research provides the strongest hints of things to come.

 

 

Tags: , ,

New ASHA-Approved CEU on Cyberbullying

We have a new ASHA-approved online CEU course for you that tackles the difficult topic of Cyberbullying:

CyberbullyingCyberbullying is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews evidenced-based research for identification, management and prevention of cyberbullying in children, adolescents and adults.

Cyberbullying is intentional, repeated harm to another person using communication technology. It is not accidental or random. It is targeted to a person with less perceived power.

Children with communication disorders, disabilities and/or social skills impairments are at a much higher risk for bullying, putting SLPs in a prime role for helping these children.

This course will describe specific cyberbullying behaviors, review theories that attempt to explain why bullying happens, list the damaging effects that befall its victims, and discuss strategies professionals can use to prevent or manage identified cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a fast-growing area of concern and all healthcare professionals should be equipped to spot the signs and provide support for our patients and clients, as well as keep up with the technology that drives cyberbullying. Course #21-09 | 2016 | 32 pages | 20 posttest questions | $28

Professional Development Resources, Inc. is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) that offers 150+ online, video and book-based continuing education courses for healthcare professionals. We are approved by the Continuing Education Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA Provider #AAUM) to provide continuing education activities in speech-language pathology and audiology. See course page for number of ASHA CEUs, instructional level and content area. ASHA CE provider approval does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products or clinical procedures. CEUs are awarded by the ASHA CE Registry upon receipt of the CEU Participant Form from the ASHA Approved CE Provider. Please note that the completion date that appears on ASHA transcripts is the last day of the quarter, regardless of when the course was completed. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the Florida Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (Provider #50-1635) and the Ohio Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and isCE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within 1 week of completion).

 

Tags: , ,

Cyberbullying Myths You Need to Know

By Tamekia Reece

nohate-1125176_640

Here are some very real myths about cyberbullying you will want to know to protect your children and yourself.

MYTHS and TRUTHS about bullying and technology

Suppose you were asked: What is cyberbullying?

Could someone get in trouble for it? Is it as bad as face-to-face bullying? What should or shouldn’t you do if you’re being cyberbullied?

Could you answer each of those questions? If not, you’re definitely not alone. Although cyberbullying is talked about often in real life, magazines, movies, and on the Internet, a lot of misinformation still exists. To help keep you safe (and out of trouble), here’s the real deal on cyberbullying.

MYTH: Everyone experiences online bullying — cyberbullying

TRUTH: Anyone who spends time in the digital world will come across negativity. It might mean being called a hater because you disagree with someone on an online message board, receiving a mean text message from a friend you’re having a disagreement with, or getting a “that’s dumb” comment about your YouTube video. Those things aren’t cyberbullying. “Cyberbullying is when someone repeatedly targets you in a negative manner using electronic media: texting, instant messaging, calls, e-mails, online forums, or social networks,” says Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, author of CyberSafe.

MYTH: Cyberbullying isn’t as bad as face-to-face bullying

TRUTH: It’s possibly worse. When someone bullies you in person, the bullying stops when you’re no longer around that person. With cyberbullying, even if you turn off your computer or cell phone, the hurtful messages will be waiting when you turn the device back on. That constant harassment can have damaging effects. “Cyberbullying victims may experience anxiety, fear, self-esteem issues, or physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, or trouble sleeping,” O’Keeffe says. Some teens, she adds, feel so hopeless they think they have to take drastic steps to end their pain.

That almost happened with Pennsylvania teen Heather.* After a classmate noticed she and Heather had identical pencil cases, the girl told her friends Heather had copied. “They contacted me on Face-book chat asking what my problem was and saying I was stupid,” Heather says. Because it was about something so simple, Heather thought it would be a one-time thing. But they repeatedly sent messages for more than a month, calling Heather names, saying she had problems, and telling her everyone disliked her.

“I was depressed, felt really bad about myself, and (believed] no one liked me,” Heather says. “I even thought about hurting myself physically.” Fortunately, Heather didn’t act on her thoughts and instead got counseling. However, the many news reports of teens committing suicide or harming others because of cyberbullying show some teens aren’t as lucky.

MYTH: Only known troublemakers are likely to cyberbully

TRUTH: The anonymous nature of the Internet makes it easy to say and do things you wouldn’t in person, O’Keeffe says. Anyone could be behind the screen: the swim team captain, the most popular guy at school, the quiet girl from science class.

Plus, people sometimes get caught up in cyberbullying without intentionally meaning harm, says Thomas Jacobs, a retired judge and the author of Teen Cyberbullying Investigated. Think about it: When a celeb is a trending topic on Twitter, people tweet insults and jokes because they’re bored, they think it’s fun, or they don’t want to be left out. The same can happen with teens. “If the bully is popular, other teens may feel pressured to join in because ‘everyone else is doing it,'” Jacobs explains.

MYTH: Cyberbullies are never caught

TRUTH: With a little investigative work, law enforcement officials can trace just about anything you do online or through a cell phone back to you, says Jacobs. And cyberbullying, depending on the circumstances, can have severe consequences. “Not only may there be punishments at home, bullies may face suspension, expulsion, or other disciplinary action at school, and there can also be legal consequences — like your parents being sued or criminal charges being filed against you,” Jacobs says.

MYTH: Fighting back online will stop the cyberbullying

TRUTH: Doctoring your bully’s online photos or creating a slam book probably won’t make him or her leave you alone. It will most likely start a cyber war. “Instead of trying to retaliate against the bully, it’s best to save copies of harassing messages or online posts [in case you need them as proof later], and then ignore the person,” Jacobs says. Many bullies like the attention they get from bothering others, so if you ignore a bully by not responding and blocking the person from contacting you by phone, IM, e-mail, or your social networking profiles, he or she may get bored and leave you alone.

If you have a bully who just won’t quit (or you’re being threatened), it’s time to call in some adult help. Don’t worry about losing your phone or Internet privileges if you tell your parents. You most likely won’t: Being cyberbullied isn’t your fault, and parents usually understand that, Jacobs says. Notifying your parents or other trusted adults, such as your school principal or counselor, is a good idea because they may be able to do things you can’t — such as talking with the bully’s parents, reporting the bully’s behavior to an Internet service provider, or if it’s really bad, contacting law enforcement officials. Whatever you do, don’t think you have to deal with it on your own. The important thing to remember, Jacobs says, is no one has to suffer from cyberbullying, because help is available. CH

31 percent of teens admit they have said something online that they would not have said face-to-face.

Source: GFI Software 2011 Parent-Teen Internet Safety Report

Need Cyberbullying Help?

www.stopcyberbullying.org. This Web site by the group WiredSafety includes information on identifying cyberbullying, preventing it, and how to handle it if it happens to you.

www.stopbullying.gov. This government Web site has a ton of information on both bullying and cyberbullying.

www.athinline.org. Get facts on digital abuse and cyberbullying and learn how to deal with those things and help others at this Web site from MTV.

Bully Block app. Block unwanted text messages, pictures, and calls with this app for Android phones. You can also record to a secret file and send the information to your parents.

Think About It…

Why, do you think, is it so easy for cyberbullying to take hold and continue? What are some ways teens who are bystanders can help stop cyberbullying?

Source: Reece, T. (2012). Cyberbullying 411. Current Health Teens, 38(5), 7-9.

Related Continuing Education Course for Mental Health Professionals

Bullies have moved from the playground and workplace to the online world, where anonymity can facilitate bullying behavior. Cyberbullying is intentional, repeated harm to another person using communication technology. It is not accidental or random. It is targeted to a person with less perceived power. This may be someone younger, weaker, or less knowledgeable about technology. Any communication device may be used to harass or intimidate a victim, such as a cell phone, tablet, or computer. Any communication platform may host cyberbullying: social media sites (Facebook, Twitter), applications (Snapchat, AIM), websites (forums or blogs), and any place where one person can communicate with – or at – another person electronically. The short and long-term effects of bullying are considered as significant as neglect or maltreatment as a type of child abuse. This course reviews evidenced-based research for identification, management and prevention of cyberbullying in children, adolescents and adults. It will describe specific cyberbullying behaviors, review theories that attempt to explain why bullying happens, list the damaging effects that befall its victims, and discuss strategies professionals can use to prevent or manage identified cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a fast-growing area of concern and all healthcare professionals should be equipped to spot the signs and provide support for our patients and clients, as well as keep up with the technology that drives cyberbullying.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 

Tags: ,

 
%d bloggers like this: