What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the use of electronic devices and media to repeatedly harass, threaten, humiliate and otherwise hassle people.
According to Common Sense Media, “Whether it’s creating a fake social media page (i.e., Twitter or Facebook) to impersonate a fellow student, repeatedly sending hurtful text messages and images, or posting cruel comments on the Internet, cyberbullying can have a devastating effect. Nasty comments, lies, embarrassing photos and videos, and snide polls can be spread widely through instant messaging (IM) or phone texting, and by posts on social networking sites. It can happen anytime — at school or home — and can involve large groups of children. The combination of the boldness created by being anonymous and the desire to be seen as “cool” can cause a child who normally wouldn’t say anything mean face-to-face to show off for other children.”
Cyberbullying Prevention – 5 Things Parents Can Do
- Teach your child empathy. Nothing drives home a point faster than walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. If children truly understand what someone else is going through, they’re less likely to bully someone — or passively witness others being bullied.
- Help children understand the line between funny and cruel. Children’s online communication is often purposely ambiguous or accidentally cruel — both of which can lead to misunderstandings. If drama starts brewing, ask your child to call or speak face to face with his/her friend to clear it up.
- Make sure they talk to someone (even if it’s not you). As children enter the middle school years, their circle of friends and trusted adults widens. Children need a responsible adult to confide in — their school counselor, their music teacher, even the parent of a friend. Talk to your children about who they can go to if trouble is brewing.
- Help your child be an upstander — not a bystander. Children are hesitant to get involved, in case the bully turns their sights on them. But there are ways to allow your child to work behind the scenes to reach out to the victim, get an adult involved, and prevent more cruel behavior.
- Show your child how to stop cyberbullying. Tell children not to respond or retaliate. Not feeding the bully can stop the cycle. And — if anything does happen — save the evidence.
5 Ways to Stop Cyberbullying
- Don’t respond or retaliate. If you are angry or hurt, you might say things you regret later.
- Block the bully. Block phone numbers, screen names and email addresses and remove the person from friend/buddy lists.
- Save the evidence. Print out or take screen shots of abusive messages and keep them as proof.
- Tell a friend or trusted adult. Telling a teacher or a parent isn’t tattling, it’s standing up for yourself.
Source: Common Sense Media – 5 Ways to Stop Cyberbullying Video
Comprehensive Parent Guide
Common Sense Media’s – Comprehensive parent guide includes everything parents need to know about cyberbullying, organized by age and stage.
Family Tip Sheets
Cyberbullying Resource Links
NetSmartz – Cyberbullying
Keeping Kids and Teens safer on the Internet
Watch teens share their own “Real-Life Stories” about issues affecting them on the Internet such as cyberbullying, online enticement, and giving out too much personal information.
Leading Research Institutes
The Cyberbullying Research Center is dedicated to providing up-to-date information about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyberbullying among adolescents.
PEW Internet and American Life Project – Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites.