What You Can Do!

What Kids, Teens & Young Adults Can Do

Be Smart Online and Texting

You can prevent cyberbullying by being careful of what you do:

  • Always think about what you post or say. Do not share secrets, photos or anything that might be embarrassing to you or others. What seems funny or innocent at the time could be used against you. You do not have complete control over what others forward or post.
  • Set privacy settings on your accounts. Make sure that you are only sharing information with people you know and trust. Pay attention to notices from social networks, because sometimes privacy settings change.

Make Cyberbullying Stop

If you or someone you know is being cyberbullied, know that it does not have to be this way. There things you can do to help you and your friends:

  • Talk with someone you trust. Talking to someone could help you figure out the best ways to deal with the problem. Reach out to a family member, friend or another adult that you trust.
  • Do not respond to cyberbullying. Sometimes people post or text teasing or name-calling to get a reaction. If someone has posted or sent a message that could be hurtful to others, refuse to pass it along or respond to it.
  • Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Record the dates, times and descriptions of instances when cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, e-mails, and text messages.
  • Block the person who is cyberbullying you. Many websites and phone companies let you block people. Also, cyberbullying may violate the “Terms and Conditions” of these services. Consider contacting the service provider to file a complaint.
  • Report the incident to your school. They may be able to help you resolve the cyberbullying or be watchful for face-to-face bullying.
  • Ask for help. Sometimes, talking to a counselor or health professional can help you get through the emotional effects of bullying.

What Parents Can Do

Although it is difficult for you to monitor your children at all times, it is extremely important to pay close attention to possible cyberbullying incidents involving their children, especially if their kids are younger. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)  gives parents control over what information websites can collect from kids.

Help Kids be Smart Online or While Texting

Here are some things that you can do to help prevent cyberbullying.

Communicate with your children. Set up a daily time to check in with your son or daughter, and listen to any concerns about online activities that they are involved in. Talk specifically about cyberbullying and encourage your children to tell you immediately if they see or experience cyberbullying.

Be aware of where your children go online. Familiarize yourself with the technology they are using.

Develop and enforce rules. Work together and come to a clear understanding about when, where, and for what purpose phones and computers can be used. Develop clear rules about what is and what is not appropriate online. Decide on fair consequences and follow through consistently.

How You Can Help

If you know or suspect your children are being cyberbullied, take quick action.

Talk with your children. Do not just ignore the bullying problem or hope it will go away. Tell your child that you are concerned and that you’d like to help.

Tell your child not to respond to cyberbullying. Responding can sometimes make the situation worse.

Empathize with your child. Tell him or her that cyberbullying is wrong, that it is not their fault, and that you are glad he or she had the courage to tell you about it. Do not assume that your child did something to provoke the bullying. For instance, do not ask things like, “What did you do to aggravate the other child?”

Work together to find solutions. Ask your children what he or she thinks can be done to help, and reassure him or her that the situation can be handled and still keep them safe.

Document ongoing cyberbullying. Work with your children to record bullying incidents. Write down what happened, where, who was involved, and when it occurred. Find out how your child reacted and how the students bullying, bystanders, and adults responded.

Block the person who is cyberbullying your children. Many websites and phone companies let you block people. Cyberbullying may violate the “Terms and Conditions” of these services. Consider contacting them to file a complaint.

Contact law enforcement. Police can respond if the aggressive behavior is criminal. The following may constitute a crime:

  • Threats of violence
  • Child pornography and sexting
  • Taking a photo image of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy
  • Harassment, stalking, or hate crimes
  • Obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Extortion

Be Persistent. Talk regularly with your child to see whether the cyberbullying has stopped. If the bullying persists or escalates, you may need to contact the appropriate people again or talk with an attorney. Don’t give up.

What Schools Can Do

Schools play an important role in ensuring that activities of kids, teens and young adults are in a safe environment, in school or in cyberspace.

Preventing Cyberbullying

Educate students, teachers, and other staff members about cyberbullying, its dangers, and what to do if someone is cyberbullied.

Discuss cyberbullying with students. They may be knowledgeable about cyberbullying and they may have good ideas about how to prevent and address it.

Be sure that your school’s rules and policies address cyberbullying. 

Closely monitor students’ use of computers at school. Use filtering and tracking software on all computers, but don’t rely solely on this software to screen out cyberbullying and other problematic online behavior.

What To Do When it Starts

Investigate reports of cyberbullying immediately. If cyberbullying occurs on-campus or through the school district’s internet system, you are obligated to take action. If the cyberbullying occurs off-campus, you can still help. Remember even cyberbullying that occurs off-campus can affect how students behave and relate to each other at school.

  • Closely monitor the behavior of the students involved at school for all forms of bullying.
  • Investigate to see if those who are cyberbullied need support from a school counselor or school-based health professional.
  • Notify parents of students involved in cyberbullying.
  • Talk with all students about the negative effects of cyberbullying.

Contact law enforcement. Notify the police if the aggressive behavior is criminal. The following may constitute a crime:

  • Threats of violence
  • Child pornography and sexting
  • Taking a photo image of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy
  • Harassment, stalking, or hate crimes
  • Obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Extortion
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