Bullies In
Cyberspace

Mom and Dad, wake up: If you assume your child is using that fancy home computer to stimulate his brain, think again. The hottest new trend has kids using those keyboards to send vile, hateful and highly slanderous messages about their peers through the Internet. Once confined to playgrounds, bullying has hit cyberspace, cell phones and pagers, and it's both serious and sophisticated. So what should a parent do if their child is cyberbullied?

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6Block further communication.

If your child is victimized change your phone number or e-mail account, and talk to your provider. Contact police for threats of violence and extortion.

7Monitor that computer.

Keep your computer in a central space and out of your kid's bedroom.

8Pull the plug.

If your child ever uses a cell phone, pager, answering machine, or fax, to send vicious gossip or hate, remove the electronic gizmo from your kid and pull the computer plug from power surge.

9Teach assertive skills.

Research finds that kids who learn how to be assertive and appear more confident are less likely to be targeted by bullies. In fact, studies show it's often not how "different" your child looks or acts but rather her victim-like demeanor that makes her an easy target. So teach your child an arsenal of strategies she can use to defuse a bully and then practice with her until she feels confident in using them on her own.

10Take your child seriously.

This is painful stuff and your child needs your empathy and support. Watch your child carefully and tune into his or her emotional signs. Don't let your child be victimized.

More ways to keep kids safe online:

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Comments on "How to protect kids from cyber-bullying"

Raul October 20, 2010 | 10:37 AM

Stoppp cyberbullyingggg

Piolin October 20, 2010 | 10:35 AM

STOP THE NONSENSEEE ALREADYY

Laura Johnson October 29, 2009 | 4:33 AM

what a load of rubbish it happens just sensitive people cant take it. how can you sit there saying all of this when sometime in your life you have done it

BarbR December 03, 2008 | 12:48 PM

This new article "Bullies in Cyberspace" http://www.sheknows/articles/5846.htm by internationally renowned educational consultant, Michele Borba, EdD, adds to the growing number of voices calling for action on Cyber-Bullying. According to a study by the Pew Internet Project â€" released last year, some 39% of social networking users have reported being bullied in one way or another, as opposed to just 22% of teens who do not use such social networks. Dr. Borba’s focus is on steps that parents can take to both protect and educate their children about the dangers and damage possible from cyber-bullying and the basic lesson that cyber-bullying is hurtful and unacceptable. "Mom and Dad, wake up: If you assume your child is using that fancy home computer to stimulate his brain, think again. The hottest new trend has kids using these keyboards to send vile, hateful and highly slanderous messages about their peers through the Internet. Once confined to playgrounds, bullying has hit cyberspace, cell phones and pagers, and it’s both serious and sophisticated…" "Parents today need a closer "electronic leash" on their kids and need to be more tuned into the cyberspace trend. This isn’t about being controlling â€" this is good parenting." At CyberPatrol we believe there are three steps to keeping children safe from cyber-bullying: Education, government policies, and technology. Children and parents have to be aware of what constitutes cyber-bullying, and what the ramifications can be. Sending mean or threatening e-mails or tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others are just two examples. The fact that the person doing the bullying can remain anonymous if they choose and that they can use technology such as social networks or IM to spread their hurtful handiwork far and wide, is what makes bullying in cyberspace especially dangerous and long-lasting. Government bodies, including increasing numbers of schools and school systems also have a positive role to play in limiting cyber-bullying. Many are actively creating policies to deal with cyber-bullying. Finally, technology companies, both those like CyberPatrol http://www.cyberpatrol/family.asp that develop online safety software, and social networking companies like MySpace and FaceBook have a role in controlling Cyber-Bullying. Today’s online safety software (often referred to as parental controls software) not only blocks unacceptable or even dangerous web sites. It can also block words or phrases commonly associated with cyber-bullying. How parents and children choose to use such software is of course a personal family decision, and as children mature and gain experience, as in the real world, they gain or are granted more freedom online. Participating in a social network is almost inevitably part of that process. Internationally recognized Internet safety expert, educator and author, Linda Criddle of LookBothWays http://look-both-ways/ (and spokesperson for CyberPatrol internet safety videos http://www.cyberpatrol/safetyseries.asp ) commented on the responsibility of social networks in the current tragic case concerning MySpace and a teen girl’s suicide. Missouri teen Megan Meier, a 13 year old, committed suicide following "cyber-bullying" by a class-mate’s mother â€" 49 year old Lori Drew. Drew is charged with setting up a MySpace account with a false identity â€" a young man called Josh Evans, who befriended and then ultimately turned against the teenager girl (diagnosed with depression), using the MySpace account. http://www.efluxmedia/news_MySpace_Verdict_And_Social_Networks_Responsibility_30292.html. Regardless of whether the final verdict is cyber-bullying or computer fraud and whether Drew serves jail time and must pay a substantial fine, the tragic case demonstrates the danger the Internet can present when people can hide behind fake names and personas to anonymously inflict pain and damage to others.

KenS November 05, 2008 | 10:14 AM

Parents need to get involved in helping solve the cyberbullying problem. If parents cared enough about their child being the bully or passing along the material as much as they care when their child is a victim, it would be a huge step forward. But then, of course, how do you know if your child is involved in cyberbullying? Just as you stated above in #7, you need to monitor their Internet activity. Monitoring software like our PC Pandora will record everything that happens on the PC. If your child is a victim, you will know; if they are a bully, you will know. Whatever the case may be with your child, you need to intervene and teach them how to be a Responsible CyberCitizen. Otherwise, the path we are on, will lead to a disheveled generation who have no sense of ethics and humanity. Check us out at www.pcpandora to see how you can protect your child from the perils of cyberbullying.

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