Cyber bullying is the use of e-mail, web sites, instant messaging, chat rooms, cell phone text messaging and digital cameras to antagonize and intimidate others. Here are a few suggestions to avoid cyber bullying, and actions to take if your child is a victim:
- Parents should learn everything they can about the Internet and what their children are doing online.
- Teach youth to guard contact information (e-mail addresses, instant messaging names, cell phone numbers) and to be aware that any information, including images, they disclose anywhere online (for example, in a social networking profile or a chat room) can potentially be viewed BY ANYONE.
- Talk to your children about their online activity and be aware of what youngsters are posting on web sites, including their own personal web page.
- Encourage children to behave ethically and responsibly online. Teach them never to post or say anything online that they wouldn't want the whole world, including you, to read.
- Look for signs that your child is being bullied online: a reluctance to use the computer or go to school. If the bully is at your child's school, meet with school officials and ask for help.
- If your child is being harassed online, she/he should leave the area or stop the activity (i.e., chat room, instant messaging), block the sender's messages and save them for forwarding to appropriate Internet service providers.
- Encourage children to speak to you, another trusted adult or, if necessary, the police, about anything anybody says or does online that makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened.
- Report any incident of online harassment and physical threats to police and your Internet Service Provider. If your child is being bullied through a mobile phone, report the problem to your phone service provider for assistance in tracking down the bully.
- Encourage schools to educate students, teachers, parents.
- Teach kids to take a stand against bullying!
For more information, please review the following resources from Common Sense Media