Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.
Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
When cyberbullying happens, it is important to document and report the behavior so it can be addressed.
Steps to Take Immediately
- Don’t respond to and don’t forward cyberbullying messages.
- Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Record the dates, times, and descriptions of instances when cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, emails, and text messages. Use this evidence to report cyberbullying to web and cell phone service providers.
- Block the person who is cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying Warning Signs- https://cyberbullying.org/cyberbullying-warning-signs
Other useful Tip Sheets from the Cyberbullying Research Center- https://cyberbullying.org/resources
Be Aware of What Your Kids are Doing Online
- Talk with your kids about cyberbullying and other online issues regularly.
- Know the sites your kids visit and their online activities. Ask where they’re going, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with.
- Tell your kids that as a responsible parent you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern. Installing parental control filtering software or monitoring programs are one option for monitoring your child’s online behavior, but do not rely solely on these tools.
- Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use.
- Ask for their passwords, but tell them you’ll only use them in case of emergency.
- Ask to “friend” or “follow” your kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.
- Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or cell phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.
Teaching Kids to be Smart About Social Media- https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/social-media-smarts.html
Smart Social Networking – 15 Tips for Teens- https://cyberbullying.org/smart-social-networking
There’s a lot to deal with on the Internet — cyberbullies, privacy settings, gossip, and even cyber criminals. These resources can help parents and teens understand how to make safe choices when using the internet:
Florida Department of Education – Internet Safety – http://www.fldoe.org/safe-schools/related-topics/internet-safety.stml
Safe Florida – http://www.safeflorida.net/safesurf