Don't be Mean Behind the Screen
Three Differences Between Cyberbullying & Bullying
- Cyberbullying can happen 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and reach a kid even when he or she is alone. It can happen any time of the day or night.
- Cyberbullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience. It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to trace the source.
- Deleting inappropriate and harassing messages, texts, and pictures is extremely difficult after they have been posted or sent.
Effects of Cyberbullying
- use alcohol and drugs
- skip school
- have lower self-esteem
- experience in-person bullying
- have more health problems
Prevention & Awareness
- Know the sites your kids visit and their online activities. Ask where they are going, what they are doing, and who they are doing it with.
- Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use.
- Ask to "friend" or "follow" your kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.
- Ask for their passwords, but tell them you will only use them in case of emergency.
- Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or cell phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.
- Tell kids to keep their passwords safe and not share them with friends. Sharing passwords can compromise their control over their online identities and activities.
- Encourage kids to think about who they want to see the information and pictures they post online. Should complete strangers see it? Real friends only? Friends of friends? Think about how people who are not friends could use it.
- Be clear about what sites they can visit and what they are permitted to do when they are online. Show them how to be safe online.
Reporting a Cyberbully
- Don't respond to and don't forward cyberbullying messages.
- Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Record the dates, times, and descriptions of instances when cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, emails, and text messages. Use this evidence to report cyberbullying to web and cell phone service providers.
- Block the person who is cyberbullying.
Report to your School
- In many states, schools are required to address cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policy. Some state laws also cover off-campus behavior that creates a hostile school environment.
- Cyberbullying can create a disruptive environment at school and is often related to in-person bullying. The school can use the information to help inform prevention and response strategies.