Bullying

use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.

CyberBullying

1. Reach out to a trustworthy adult

Too often, young people get the message that they should be strong enough to handle bullying on their own. Help kids understand that reaching out to trustworthy adults is, in itself, an act of tremendous strength and courage. Make sure your child knows that he never has to "go it alone." Rather, adults can do a lot to make cyberbullying situations better—but they can’t do anything if they do not know about them, so kids must find the courage to reach out and speak up.

#2

2. Disengage

A young person's instinct in a cyberbullying incident may be to retaliate—to return the insults, post equally lewd photos, or spread vengeful rumors. Teach them never to give in to this temptation. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but revenge can lead to three bad outcomes:

  • It ups the ante on aggression. The person who “started” it will likely escalate their cruelty even farther.
  • It creates equal culpability in the eyes of adults. Accountability is not based on “who started it?” but rather: Who did the right thing to bring the situation to an end?
  • It can potentially land both kids in legal jeopardy, since cyberbullying can be a criminal offense.

#3

3. Log Off & Block Harassers

It is important to teach young people that it is OK to walk away from toxic friendships. A first line of defense in stopping cyberbullying is to empower kids to end a digital conversation the minute it begins to get nasty. Kids should know how to log off of an account temporarily and in cases of repeated harrassment, block aggressors altogether.

#4

4. Use Privacy Settings

Give your child the empowering message that she is in charge of how she is treated by others. Encourage her to use privacy settings to set boundaries on cruelty by her peers.

#5

5. Take Screen Shots

As the saying goes, what happens on the internet stays on the internet. Never does this truism come in more handy than when young people know to take screen shots of incidents of cyberbullying, including offensive emails, texts, Facebook posts, Tweets, photos, videos, phone numbers, and so forth. This kind of solid evidence, when shared with adults, can go a long way in bringing cyberbullying to a screeching halt.