The focus of last week’s Around the Table article was defining and recognizing cyberbullying. As stated in the article, cyberbullying is the use of technology and the Internet to harass another person, generally a child or teenager. Today we will turn our attention to actions parents can take if they have determined their child is a victim of cyberbullying attacks. Internet safety issues can be found as early as third grade. Information for this article was found on the website www.stompoutbullying.org For the complete article and further information, please visit the website.
Parents who feel their child is being bullied should:
“Be aware ... get involved! — Speak The Lingo and Know The Game!
Parents should Google their child’s name and see if there is anything being said about their child on the Internet. One can also create a Google Alert with your child’s name so that every time something is said about your child you will receive an email.
Victim’s parents should be supportive of their child. Parents may be tempted to tell their kids to toughen up, that names never hurt anybody, yet cyber-attacks can harm a child easily and have a long-lasting effect. Millions of cyber accomplices can help target or humiliate a child. That emotional pain is very serious and very real. Do not ignore it.
Alert the school and guidance counselor to watch out for in-school bullying and see how your child is handling things. It is important that you give your child love, support, nurturing and security. Children have committed suicide after having been cyberbullied. Take it seriously.
You should immediately contact your local law enforcement agency (not the FBI) if you have any knowledge that personal contact information has been posted online, or any threats have been made to your child.
Save all proof of the cyberbullying. Save in an email folder or in your favorites if it involves a website and print everything out.
Although print-outs are not sufficient evidence of proof of cyberbullying, you should bring a print-out of all instances to show them. You will need electronic evidence and live data for proof.”
To minimize the risk of cyberbullying or finding your child in dangerous situations on the Internet, keep all computers in “public” areas of the home. Children should use computers at the kitchen table, in the living room or other areas where parents can readily supervise their activity. Children should never be allowed to have computers in their rooms overnight. Children can easily (either on purpose or accidentally) access websites that can ultimately be very dangerous for them. Accessing dangerous sites is the equivalent of inviting strangers into their bedroom and into your home.