Cyberbullying is bullying or harassment that happens online. It can happen in an email, a text message, an online game, or on a social networking site.
It might involve rumors or images posted on someone’s profile or circulated for others to see.
What can you do?
Help prevent cyberbullying.
Talk to your kids about bullying. Tell your kids that they can’t hide behind the words they type and the images they post or send. Bullying is a lose-lose situation. Hurtful messages make the target feel bad, and they make the sender look bad. Often they can bring scorn from peers and punishment from authorities.
Tell your kids to talk to you about bullying, too. Ask your kids to let you know if an online message or image makes them feel threatened or hurt.
Recognize the signs of a cyberbully. Cyberbullying often involves mean-spirited comments. Check out your kid’s social networking pages from time to time to see what you find. Could your kid be the bully? Look for signs of bullying behavior, such as creating mean images of another kid.
Help stop cyberbullying. Most kids don’t bully, and there’s no reason for anyone to put up with it. If your kids see cyberbullying happening to someone else, encourage them to try to stop it by telling the bully to stop, and by not engaging or forwarding anything. One way to help stop bullying online is to report it to the site or network where you see it.
What to do about a cyberbully.
Don’t react to the bully. If your child is targeted by a cyberbully, keep a cool head. Remind your child that most people realize bullying is wrong. Tell your child not to respond in kind. Instead, encourage your kid to work with you to save the evidence and talk to you about it. If the bullying persists, share the record with school officials or local law enforcement.
Protect your child’s profile. If your child finds a profile that was created or altered without their permission, contact the site to have it taken down.
Block or delete the bully. Delete the bully from friends lists or block their user name, email address, and phone number.