Deaf Adults Raising Cyber-Savvy Children

Vlog Summary: In response to readers’ requests for ASC to address cyberbullying, Sharon Duchesneau emphasizes the crucial need for Deaf parents and educators to take an active role in teaching children how to use the internet safely and wisely. With early intervention, children can develop their critical thinking abilities and skills in handling cyberbullies, tools that will serve them well in the future. DeafRead.com, for example, can be a great place for adults to assist children in learning how to express themselves appropriately online, either as commentators or vloggers/bloggers.

  1. jimmy June 7, 2007

    Your vlog is very helpful as many not realize abuse or bullying included computers as well many other ways. Glad to know that you bring up the topic.


  2. Jana June 7, 2007

    Yes, I agree with you. When I visited Alabama School for the Deaf during our vacation two weeks ago, my friend toured me to the girls’ dorm. I saw almost all girls have their pagers. There were not much supervision involved and there was one houseparent on duty. They need to post in the dorm about the internet use safety and how to use the internet wisely. I feel the dormitory at the deaf school is more open and vulunerable than the home environment. Parents have more control over it at home than at the school. I suggest the parents control software to install at home computers and or at the school at the dorm. You brought it up very good topic. My son is not fond about IM paging but likes to play games online. I set a time limit for him. Its important that deaf parents and deaf educators to be aware of this.. can discuss the internet safety in the classroom. They can write a poster and post it in the classroom.

  3. Aidan Mack June 7, 2007


    You said it beautifully. I like how you present information. Good job. :o) Cybebullying needs to be stopped. :o) And meanwhile they figure it out how to stop, it is best to ignore. It will be become “to know what to expect..” and educate our children…


  4. LaRonda June 7, 2007

    An outstanding video! I will use it to share with my Parenting Skills Class I teach this Wed.! A gem!

    ~ LaRonda

  5. Kim June 8, 2007

    Thank you for this videoclip! Appreciate the education.. As mom to 3 young children, I appreciate the tips! We all are facing different world our children are living in now ~ So much technology in their childhood, unlike mine! Electric typewriter for all papers I had done in Undergraduate, and I emailed for the first time when I was senior at Gally .. WOW, time has changed rapidly!

    With the Vlogs, I would encourage the parents to view the Vlogs before showing to the children. Some jokes & stories are not approporiate for children due to ‘R’ language.

    Thanks again, Kim

  6. SusanA June 8, 2007

    thanks for sharing these tips, appreciate it,


  7. IamMine June 8, 2007

    Thank you for taking your time doing this vlog! 🙂

    Ah, yes children today are more savvy with the internet than we were at their age – heck, even more than I!

    My 5 years old daughter, who was 2 at the time, could easily figure out how to work with basic operations of the computer in no time!

    She learned how to open/close the paint program and even surprised me with the features I never noticed before!

    They look for everything while we just focus on the ones we NEED to use. 🙂

    My soon-to-be 14 years old son has his own myspace and I am one of this friends so I can see his page.

    You are right…they can be sly and while I prefer him NOT to have that page…I know if I said to shut it down, he would find OTHER ways and I wouldn’t know about it.

    So I leave him be but very important to check on from time to time…and if I see something that is inappropriate, I call him for discussion. If he does not change, I take away his internet privileges.

    Teenagers are especially involved with IMs and this is the gray area I am in because it’s private, yet challenging because a child needs to know that s/he can be trusted.

    Not easy being an internet parent these days… some days I wonder if I am not doing the right thing, or not enough.

    Anyway, thanks Sharon. 🙂

  8. Karen Mayes June 8, 2007

    Yeah, I noticed that younger deaf children have Sidekicks nowadays. I noticed that a few fourth graders from ISD had Sidekicks… whoa! My son who is mainstreamed asks for Ipod instead of a pager… I had an experience with two elementary students who used their Sidekicks as part of bullying my kindergarten daughter on the bus several months ago and I approached school about the incident and it contacted their parents not to allow their children to use the Sidekicks against younger children to “control” them.

    My two children are savvy with computers, since we have several computers at home so they are more familiar with it. Rochester School for the deaf offers computer classes starting in preschool (yup, preschool.) ISD has not gone to this part yet, due to the reason of the state budget. But I won’t allow my kids to have their computers in their bedrooms… no thanks, due to youtubes, myspace, etc… Even Disney.com has links leading to youtube sites!!! Ugh.

  9. Bradley Goodyear June 8, 2007

    Perfect example to teach people and parents. I am pretty sure they learn alot from your tip.

    I pleasure what you did show us about this situation.


  10. deafk June 8, 2007

    Thank you for the tips. It was nice well-informative message. I really appreciate that. When I saw the title for this message, I said, oh, no, should i watch it or not?? I went ahead for the sake of my dear children, and I am glad I did.

    By the way, one deaf school here just forbad using the pagers during schooling. If he or she forgot to leave the pager at home or dorm, he or she is required to hand in principle’s office til the school is over.

    Thanks again. deafk

  11. Mishkazena June 8, 2007

    Great Vlog. Thanks for bringing this up, as now we are having more Deaf kids doing vlogs here.

    In real life, girls practice verbal bullying, so it makes sense that this is extended to the Internet. I hope the Deaf Parents and Educators will pay close attention to this trend.

  12. ASC June 8, 2007

    Thanks for your comments, everyone.

    The pager/privacy issue seems to be coming up more often these days, as the number of children getting their own pagers increases. There is definitely the peer pressure issue at work here. Many parents are unsure of how much privacy to give their children. It’s a fine line between balancing their desire for complete privacy and making sure they are using the pager appropriately!

    When it comes to young children, as Kim suggested, it’s a good idea for parents to preview vlogs in advance. This not only helps screen out inappropriate vlogs, but it also allows you to find vlogs that your children will be likely to enjoy, which in turn, will make their viewing experiences positive. When children are older, they can view vlogs side-by-side with their parents, with both sharing their reactions and discussing any issues related to the vlogs, to make sure the children understand them.

    Iammine, you’re not alone. Most parents are making up the rules as they go along, just like you! You’re doing exactly what is recommended for parents – becoming a friend in MySpace so you can visit your son’s page and keep an eye on him. He’s lucky to have your involvement, and by using a “friend” name, you spare him from any embarrassment he might experience by having “Mom” commenting in his page, smile. By the time he is ready to leave home, he will already have a good few years of experience in learning how to make judgments about appropriate/inappropriate internet use.

    Karen mentioned 4th graders with pagers. I’d want to know the reasoning behind the parents’ decision to give their 9-year olds pagers before jumping to any conclusions about this, but it does seem too early. Sometimes parents are afraid to set up rules or say not to their children, because they are afraid of losing their children’s love. Being overly permissive as a parent does not help children, as all the research shows. Children need rules and limits; it is one of the best gifts parents can give them.

    – Sharon

  13. Concerned Deaf Viewer June 8, 2007

    Good vlog, but I’m wondering what should be done about adult cyberbullies? How should we deal with them? There are a couple bloggers/vloggers that use their sites to attack other people, commentators who thrive on disrupting blogs and vlogs and harassing bloggers/vloggers. Some of them even go as far as to threaten them in private e mails. How do we deal with this growing problem?

  14. ASC June 9, 2007

    Concerned Deaf Viewer,

    Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for dealing with adult cyberbullies, but there are still many things you can do, as I mentioned in the vlog:

    1. If you get an email threatening physical harm or death, save the email and report it to the police and the internet service provider. Cyberthreats are a crime.

    2. If the email doesn’t contain a direct threat of harm, the best approach is to ignore it. Bullies want reactions – don’t fall into that trap.

    3. Block the bully’s email address.

    4. Change your email address.

    5. If you have a blog/vlog, use the moderation feature to screen all incoming comments, deleting those that are bullying in nature.

    6. Since the internet is considered a public place, anyone posting comments or publishing a blog/vlog is open to public reactions. We may not be able to control everyone’s reactions, but we can control our own reactions and not let the negative aspects of bullying outweigh the positive aspects of being online.

    7. If all else fails and the bullying proves to be too much to handle, there is always the option of not participating in blogs/vlogs. I hope it does not come to this point for many people.

  15. Kate Vadakin June 10, 2007

    Wow!!!! I’ve seen news so many times about students bullying their own classmates or even younger kids. That really made me sick and sometimes I feel that the parents of those bullies don’t realize what’s going on with their son or daughter, or both.

    Your blog sends a strong message that bullying is not acceptable and can be harmful to others. This is really a sad world we live in today.

    Thanks for sharing with us and the information is very usefull for me personally. Thanks!!!


  16. Betty June 10, 2007

    Dear all

    I would like encourage the parents and children or youngers , very good education for bloggers/vlogers.Also Deafread and Deafvideo.

    yours sincerley


  17. kim June 12, 2007

    Thanks for a great discussion of cyberbullying and other parenting issues related to computers and other internet access devices. I think it’s just another one of those areas where adults can frequently overlook a child’s need for supervision and support. simply because they know HOW to use the equipment does not mean that they fully understand what they’re getting into!

  18. Fred June 13, 2007

    A well deserved commendation! Bravo!

    I enjoyed this and even tho I am at an old age past half the century, It has always been a desire of mine to share with parents and teachers how best they can handle kids and such … but I didn’t go deeper into this field that you’re in. I am just glad to see something like this coming from you guys, and learning a new term: cyberbully, cyberbulling etc.

    But sadly to note here, not that many parents and teachers have the realization in “why” they have kids and expectations of raising them. They can’t have kids based on having sex alone, it comes with lots of commitment. Of course there are no instructional manauls, or CD’s or floppies to instruct parents how to do this and that, but with basic common sense take classes, training or the like …

    Having taking parenting classes, 90% of those attended were woman, and I happen to be the only father in those parenting classes (took the training twice) where NO FATHERS were present other than myself, this makes me wonder what kind of impact do those father want to leave in their child/children?

    Lastly, having substitute teaching – and working along with teachers of the deaf, I happen to glance at, a couple of times on different teachers, who were having a disciplinary process with the student or child, their approaches to them were horrifying, terrible, mindless type and bullying as well; this makes me think, they(teachers) don’t have parenting skills to approach in the appropriate way, lacking the training or such, etc. I guess we need to require in a curriculum, or course at a university, college where students planning on being teachers to take disciplinary courses in order to successfully work with those kids, don’t you think? Teachers at Columbine School didn’t have the balls to continue to check on those two young kids, persistence, keeping an eye on them…worse case, parents were not able to persistently check on their kids behavior. 🙁

    Thanks for a great presentation! 😉
    Sorry I have rambled on …

  19. richard roehm September 13, 2007

    Is sign language a language for deaf babies or knives on deaf leader’s backs?

    Beneath the Planet of the Deaf

    You be the judge.

  20. Carmen Szwejbka November 7, 2011

    It’s an unusual privilege to read quality articles these days. Your article has the qualities of great professionally written content that’s unique, original and interesting.

  21. Alaina April 28, 2012

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  22. Stephenvaphy October 6, 2020

    “The first and most fundamental principle is that my children never, under any circumstances, browse unaccompanied. They both have iPad Mini devices at which they are more adept than most adults I know. But both devices are set to forget the wifi access code so that they cannot get online without either my wife or I present.


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