Basic Overview

Cyber-bullying is defined as the use of technology, such as the internet or text messaging to post derogatory or hateful material about another.

Preventing Cyber-Bullying

Cyber bullying can be prevented by telling students to never pass along harmful messages, encourage students to tell a parent or adult about any cyber bullying they are witnessing. At home, parents can supervise time their children spent online. Educating the kids about consequences helps, and teaching them to respect others and to take a stand against bullying also helps prevent cyber bullying.

Stopping Cyber-Bullying

You can stop cyber bullying many ways. If someone bullies you, the bully is usually trying to get a reaction out of you. If you do not respond, you have power over the bully. Also, do not retaliate. Trying to get back at a bully turns you into a bully and it reinforces the bully’s behavior. Not retaliating will avoid the cycle of aggression. It is important to be civil even if it is someone you don’t like.

If you are being cyber bullied, save the evidence. Messages can be saved and shown to someone who can help. You need to do this even if it is a minor matter, in case things begin to escalate. You should talk to a trusted adult. It is always good to involve a parent but if you can’t, talk to a school counselor; sometimes, both are needed. If you are really nervous about saying something, see if there is a way to report the incident anonymously at school.

Reporting Cyber-Bullying

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement agencies have different policies; but a good place to start is your local department of FBI branch. If the bullying is school related, find out whether your school subscribes to a system that allows anonymous reports of cyber bullying. Keep record of evidence and present it to officials. Be very specific about the cyberbullying and the victim’s reaction to it. People react to bullying differently, some people only experience embarrassment, while other may experience depression, fear, anger, or become ill, lose sleep, and withdraw from social activities.

Responding To It

First Save any emails/IM’s/text messages or print out/take a screen shot of the content on the internet as evidence. Second report the incident to someone at your school-they should conduct a prompt investigation. Third, block the e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers of people who are sending unwanted messages; if the messages continue, an adult family member can help you to change your phone numbers, e-mail addresses or screen names.

Parental Resources

Cyber Tipline - parents can report crimes against children, mainly those crimes that have something to do with sexual exploitation. This website has links to other parent resources on cyber bullying.

GoGoStat Parental Guidance is a free social media application that enables parents to monitor potentially unsafe activity on Facebook. Parental Guidance notifies you when your child’s personal profile could compromise your family security or privacy, tells you who is “friended” (including their ages and locations), when messages are referencing certain risky terms, and if threatening or risky photos are posted.