Cyberbullying: Keeping Your Kids Safe
Cyberbullying, like its old-fashioned counterpart, feeds anxiety and depression.
Today’s virtual world of bullying can mean sending cruel or threatening messages or
pictures via texting, instant messaging, or other platforms, or posting embarrassing
information in chat rooms, on social media, or other websites. A cyberbully might
pretend to be someone else to make a peer look bad.
What Makes Cyberbullying so Toxic
Cyberbullying can be even crueler than the old-fashioned variety. Bullies can’t see
their victim’s reactions to tell when they’ve crossed the line from teasing to torment.
Cyberbullying can occur anywhere and anytime, making targets feel vulnerable day and
Harmful messages and pictures travel at heartbreaking speed. And they can spread anonymously.
How to Cool Cyberbullying
Kids who are bullied may hesitate to tell their parents because they’re afraid to
lose their computers, smartphones, and other devices. To keep your youngsters from
becoming cyber-targets or bullies:
Set rules about how to properly use computers, cell phones, and other technology.
Consider installing a parental monitoring program on your computer to manage online
Keep evidence of cyberbullying by saving the screenshot, email, or text message. This
can be used to report cyberbullying to web and cell phone service providers.
Call the police if a cyberbully threatens violence.
In addition, discuss these rules with your kids:
Don’t send messages online that you wouldn’t say in person.
Don’t respond to hurtful messages. Remove the sender from your friends list, block
them, and tell a trusted adult.