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Posted Sunday, March 11th, 2018

Parents, grandparents and other adults who interact with children and adolescents are invited to a free forum on Thursday, April 12 in Pequannock to learn about the insidiousness of cyberbullying and how to combat it.

Summit Police Sgt. Thomas Rich, an expert on cyberbullying, will educate adults on how cyber bullies not only use texts and emails to harass victims, but can harm them anonymously on social media and gaming apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Minecraft, Roblox, and Pokémon Go. A police officer for 20 years, Rich has addressed cyberbullying at more than 700 events nationwide, and on segments of CNN, Good Morning America and the Fox network.

Sgt. Thomas Rich lectures a large crowd of students

Summit Police Sgt. Thomas Rich

Cyberbullies use various tactics, such as posting hurtful comments on social media and apps, sending harassing emails and texts, impersonating a victim, and doxing, in which the perpetrator makes a victim’s personal information public online.

An estimated 15 percent of high school students reported being bullied electronically, according to the 2013 New Jersey Student Health Survey, the most recent available.

The forum at the First Reformed Church of Pompton Plains, 529 Newark Pompton Turnpike, is the fifth in a series offered by Community Partners for Hope, a coalition of 11 community groups and houses of worship committed to addressing critical issues facing communities. Tickets to the 7 p.m. event are free, but registration is required. Go to CPFH1803.eventbrite.com to reserve a seat.