What is cyber cheerleading and how can my kids use it?

Theresa M. Payton, National Cyber Security Expert, explains what cyber cheerleading is and how kids can use it.
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What is cyber cheerleading and how can my kids use it?

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Cyber bullying is one of those topics that we're all talking about, which is great. We have much better awareness about the damaging effects of cyber bullying. I think it's good that we talk about that, but I want us to shift our conversation to cyber cheerleading. I don't want that to be confused with seeking attention, right? So people who are trying to get so much affirmation. "I'm good. I'm pretty. I'm popular." That's not what I'm looking at people to do here. What I'd like to see is parents, teachers, and other adults, encourage kids to encourage each other online. When they see a friend having a bad day, comment on something that you really like about your friend, something cool about that friend. It's back to school, so a lot of kids are wearing new outfits. Go out of your way to compliment them on something they are wearing or something they did that was really smart or really neat. If someone has helped you with your homework, it's nice to recognize them and people like to be thanked. You can do that personally, but you can also do a little bit of cyber cheerleading. If there is a place where you and your friends hang out, whether it's Facebook or Google Plus, recognize people. We don't want this to become a popularity contest, but I think if we encourage our young people to use the internet for good, and to encourage each other, we are going to find that cyber bullying will be less important. We are still going to need to talk about it, and tell them not to do it, but we'll be instilling those positive and good behaviors that will instill a positive way in using the internet.

Theresa M. Payton, National Cyber Security Expert, explains what cyber cheerleading is and how kids can use it.

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Theresa M. Payton

National Cyber Security Expert

Theresa Payton is a well-known and highly respected national authority on cybersecurity, e-crime and fraud mitigation, and technology implementation. She has over twenty years of advanced business and security technology expertise and leadership at the highest levels of government and in the financial services industry, including being the first woman to serve as Chief Information Officer at the White House.  She is a wife and mother to three fabulous and fun kids.  She is also the co-author of the newly released book Protecting Your Internet Identity: Are You Naked Online? and the founder of the S.A.F.E. Kids initiative - a classroom-based, digital safety program.

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