Confronting the Cyber Bully

If your child is the target of an online bully, there are several steps you need to take.

But before you can take action, you need to know that there is a problem.

Make sure that your child knows that she can and must let you know that these threats are happening. If you believe that the lines of communication between you and your kids may not always be open on this topic, monitor their acitivty wherever they hang out online -- MySpace, Facebook -- and cell phone activity, Instant Message programs, chat rooms, e-mail, and blog posts.

Share this advice with your kids -- in fact, use it as a conversation starter. They need to understand how critically important it is to have an open communication with you about this.

If your child the target of an online bully, he should:

Do Not Escalate the Situation. Tell the bully in simple terms to leave you alone. Tell him not to contact you again. Log off immediately and stay offline for at least 24 hours.

Do Not Reply to any future mail from the bully. Do not reply to taunts, e-mails or gossip written about you. According to CyberAngels, an Internet safety organization, “If you take that power away from the harasser and refuse to ‘play their game,’ then you have become empowered instead. You are now in charge.”

Stay Out of questionable chat rooms.

Do Not Delete. Save emails or messages from the harasser and save all of your replies as evidence. This documentation may become very important.

• If you feel you are in physical danger or if the bully has made physical threats against you, call your local police.

More Resources

Dealing with Cyberbullies Bullies are now taking advantage of technology to intimidate and harass their victims. Dealing with cyberbullying can be difficult, but there are steps you can take. From US-CERT (U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team)

A Prent's Guide to Internet Safety From the F. B. I., this guide offers tips to keep kids safe online and a basic glossary of terms associated with Internet use.

CyberAngels The source of the above tips, CyberAngels is an Internet safety organization has a Web site that offers information for kids and parents regarding cyberstalking, online predators and more. Offers guidance for families on Internet use and safety.

Related article:
Cyber Brats: Bullies Who Taunt Their Peers with the Click of a Mouse