McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

April 28, 2014

Cyberbullying: Local parent speaks out

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — A McAlester man whose daughter was a victim of “cyberbullying” says parents need be aware of how  their  children are using their cell phones and computers.

Michael McNutt said when he found out a picture of his 13-year-old daughter was posted on a “MacTown” Instagram page with hateful comments he was hurt for his daughter and angry that someone do that to his little girl

“She asked me,  ‘Why would someone do this to me?’

McNutt said he decided to use the situation around to help educate his daughter and his 15-year-old son.

“I dealt with it, got her pic removed, calmed her down and used it as a teaching tool to hopefully guide them.

He said he learned that it was another student who started the Instagram page which not only had his daughters picture but several others as well.

And they all had negative comments.

“I realized the parents of this girl probably don’t have a clue what she is doing with her phone or her computer,” McNutt said.

But he said parents need pay close attention to what their children are doing.

“When we hand them a cell phone, we are turning them loose with a powerful weapon,” McNutt said.

“Kids are creating pages on Instagram with names like Mactown Ho's, Mactown Sluts, Mactown Bitches, Mactown Beauties and they are doing it anonymously.”

McNutt said parents need to be paying attention.

“First off parents need to be in their kids business and know what their children are doing.

“We can't just ignore our kids and let them run free — unchecked— on the Internet.

He said he makes his children kids give him their passwords.

“No password then no account,” he said.

“If they change it without telling me they lose the account.”

“We are failing our kids by not being nosey and not holding them accountable for their actions and teaching them,” McNutt said. “These pages are created by someone who wants to anonymously tear down others.”

He said parents who even allow their children to follow these pages, condoning the behavior.

“Parents we have to wake up and pay attention to our kids,” McNutt said.

“We need to know what they are doing and teach them how to be productive members of society,” he said.

“If we let them run free we are failing them. It’s our job make their choices for them and to teach and guide them.

“We need to teach them its wrong to tear down other little kids just because they don't like them and especially to do it by hiding anonymously,” McNutt said.

“It's our God given duty to raise these kids and by not paying attention we are failing them.”

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.