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Protecting kids from cyber bullying

Ami is a writer who is also a childbirth educator and former doula. In addition to her love of all things birth and babies, she is addicted to celebrity news and isn't ashamed to admit it. Ami lives in Chicago with her husband and her te...

Cyber bullying prevention tips

Cyber-bullying is on the rise and shows no signs of going away anytime soon. Here’s everything parents need to know about protecting kids from cyber-bullying and how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Ross Ellis, founder and CEO of stompoutbullying.org, shares these expert tips:

1. Know the facts about cyber-bullying.

While there's plenty of buzz about cyber-bullying, parents may not know exactly what it means. "Cyber Bullying is social terror by technology and it's on the rise," Ellis explains. "There is help, there is hope -- all you need to do is be brave, be smart and be proactive."

2. Know how to prevent cyber-bullying.

According to Ellis, "The very first thing parents must do is learn the Internet -- in other words, speak the lingo and know the game."

Need the 411 on texting? http://realmomsguide.sheknows.com/kids/teen/626-texting-cracking-the-code

"The second thing you must to is to communicate with your kids and teens. Let them know that it's okay to come to you if they are being cyberbullied. Encourage them to tell you immediately if they are being cyberbullied -- tell them you won't be angry about anything, you just want to help them."

3. Be honest about cyber bullying.

"Be sure to keep your home computer(s) out in the open, such as a family room or kitchen," Ellis advises.

For more on internet safety: http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/819467/Kids-and-website-safety

"Encourage your child to alert you if they are aware of others who may be the victims of similar behavior, and explain that cyberbullying is harmful and unacceptable. Discuss appropriate online behavior and make it clear that there will be consequences for inappropriate behavior."

And if your child is being cyber-bullied? Ellis shares these tips:

 - Don't do anything. Take a deep breath and calm down.

- Block the cyberbully or limit all communications to those on your buddy list.

- Save the harassing messages and forward them to your internet service provider (ISP.)

- Tell a trusted adult.

4. It's okay to monitor your kids' online activities.

Many parents choose to install parental control filtering software much to their kids' chagrin.

"My husband and I had absolutely no reservation at installing the software, however, our daughter thought it was a complete invasion of her privacy," says Mychele Martin, mother of Brytin, a teen who nearly was a victim of a cyber predator. She installed My Mobile Watchdog. "We, as parents, have the right to know what our child is doing via cyberspace, especially when it is in her best interest."

Mychele's daughter, Brytin, was originally against the software but wants other teens to know, "Not only do I feel safer, but I also have a greater relationship with my parents, as having the software made me want to open up about my life, knowing that they could see anything they wanted anyhow."

For more about internet monitoring: http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/804723/how-to-monitor-your-childs-online-activities

Bottom line when it comes to preventing cyber-bullying? "Kids should be taught that if they wouldn't say something to someone's face, they shouldn't say it to them online, through texting, or posting in any other way," explains Ellis.

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