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Parents should help their kids be media savvy

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I need some advice to guide our children in this electronic world. My husband and I have four children, ages 9 through 15.

Recently, our 12-year-old son was riding home on the school bus and a classmate showed him some salacious pictures that upset him.

He wasn't sure how to get out of the situation, or what to say. He was on the window side of the seat so when he asked the other student to move aside so he could get out, the student would not move. Fortunately, the bus ride is only two minutes, but when he got off the bus he was very upset.

Our son is very modest, and we care very deeply about our children's exposure to these types of things.

We talked it through and I brought it to the principal's attention. He basically said that if there are no witnesses, then there is nothing he could do.

There is also a school policy of no phones, which extends to the bus. We reminded the principal of this. In the state we live in, we could possibly bring this issue to the police.

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Outside of all that, what would your guidance be when children are shown things they don't want to see -- whether it is salacious, gory or otherwise? What are the words to say that empower them to rebuff these types of things, and to assert themselves more effectively?

-- Powering Through Parenting!

Dear Powering Through: Your son was bullied and sexually harassed. His reaction to it was completely appropriate: when he was made uncomfortable, he tried to leave the area, but was physically prevented from doing so. He told an adult. All good.

The school principal's reaction to this incident was sorely lacking and quite unprofessional. The aggressive boy should be disciplined and counseled. The school bus is an extension of the school; students deserve to ride in (relative) peace.

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