Cyberbullying is a unique form of bullying. Cyberbullying allows for anonymity and accessibility, occurring at any time, day or night. Cyberbullying can be complex as children oftentimes do not report it for fear of losing internet and phone privileges themselves. Cyberbullying is defined as bullying occurring through email, instant messaging, in a chat room, on a website or gaming site, and/or through digital messages or images sent to a cellular phone. (http://www.cyberbullyhelp.com)
What can parents do?
1. Keep open lines of communication with your child so that your child feels comfortable coming to you.
2. Educate your child regarding appropriate internet use.
3. Let your child know that you will not tolerate inappropriate internet use. Convey to them that if situation should arise, you will intervene rationally and logically and not make the situation worse.
4. Monitor your child's activities on the internet, especially early on. You can do this informally by being an active participant in their internet usage. You can also do this through software.
If you or your child believes that he or she is being cyberbullied:
1. Convey unconditional support to your child. Make your child feel safe and secure.
2. Let your child know you want the cyberbullying to stop as well.
3. Work together and arrive at a mutually agreeable course of action, one that your child has a say in and feels comfortable with.
4. Contact your child's counselor, teachers or an administrator to make them aware of the situation.
5. You may wish to work with your internet provider.
6. Police should be approached if any physical threats are involved or a crime has been committed.
Cyberbullying Research Center (www.cyberbullying.us)