Information about Cyberbullying

Cyberbullies are bullies who operate online using electronic communication (Email, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) as a means of victimizing others. Most cyberbullies are classmates of your children or acquaintances. Bullies, often anonymously, send mean and embarrassing texts or emails or create social networking pages designed to humiliate or harass. Cyberbullying is different from face-to-face bullying in that cyberbullies are able to harass their target 24/7, the bullying is harder to control, is often done in a public forum and can be anonymous. Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or a trusted adult about the abuse.

Setting up rules for your children’s use of digital communication, including what to do if they encounter a cyberbully and how to respect others online is one way you can help with the problem. To combat cyberbullying, you’ve got to know if it’s happening. Children who are being cyberbullied often keep it to themselves out of embarrassment or worry about their parents’ reaction. They may be afraid parents will take away their phone or Internet privileges. Talk to your children about their digital life. Encourage and maintain an open dialogue so they feel they can share if anything online makes them feel uncomfortable and help them understand the difference between cyberbullying and teasing among friends. Teasing that persists is bullying and needs to be dealt with.

What should you do if you think your child might be a cyberbully or is being bullied online?

*Supervise as best you can when the child is using technologies.

*Check what’s on the child’s digital devices, especially computers and cell phones. Children might object to this as an invasion of privacy, but they are minors and parents have a legal responsibility to know what their children are doing. You could be held liable for your child’s actions.

*Set rules for cell phone and internet use.

*Encourage empathy and insist that your children show respect for others.

*Encourage your child to STOP, BLOCK and TELL.

Additional resources for information on cyberbullying are: