Cyberbullying - What to do? Act.

Nov 23, 2011

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Bullies have been around as long as schools. The Internet has created a whole new playground where bullies roam. Cyberbullying—bullying through online means—is now increasing at an alarming rate.

Parents should take precautions to protect children from cyberbullies. But, if cyberbullying does occur, it is imperative you act quickly and decisively to deal with and to overcome the negative impact it can have on your child.  Email, chat and social media are the usual places where cyberbullying occurs.

For example, if your online Internet safety tool, such as Net Nanny, sends an alert of a potential cyberbullying incident, you should act quickly. Remember, the Internet is "on" continually. Things can happen fast. You should act as quickly as the Internet.

Here are five suggestions if you are alerted to a cyberbullying incident:
  1. Address it immediately. Speak frankly and openly about the incident with your child to get all the details. Don’t hesitate to ask direct and detailed questions.
  2. Ask about history. Determine if this is the first time for the incident or if it has been an on-going problem.
  3. Get a clear understanding of your child’s feelings. Is your child annoyed or scared? Does your child feel threatened? Is your child contemplating extreme or dangerous actions such as retaliation or even suicide? Understanding their feelings will help you determine the urgency of the problem.
  4. Create a plan with your child. Your plan will help resolve the problem with your child and literally with the bully. Your plan might include speaking with school officials in dealing with the issue, or changing user names and passwords for your child’s online profile, or even speaking with the parents of the bully.
  5. If the incident warrants, seek professional medical help or counseling for your child. If you suspect any kind of criminal activity, contact local law enforcement.
You can have a great relationship with your child, put in place many safety measures and do everything you can to protect your child, but the bottom line is this: When an incident occurs you need to act very quickly to protect your child.

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