Parents Need To Monitor For Cyberbullying

When I went to school, the biggest threat on the playground was getting roughed up by the class bully who was twice as big and twice as hairy as every other kid on the block. (What WERE his parents feeding him?) But cyberbullying is something very different.

Cyberbullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides because once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyber-stalking.

Turns out digital devices and the web make it much easier for a bully to harass someone; the anonymity and use of social-media sites often make them bolder than they would be in a face-to-face confrontation, and give them more opportunities to badger their target. As a parent, this is just another good reason why you should be monitoring your child’s PC and cell phone usage, as well as their Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media sites, Xbox, PlayStation and online games. Most social-media sites have a way for you to report this type of abuse and get violators and hateful commentary taken down from their sites.

If your child becomes the target, you can try to get your school involved, but many schools have been shot down, even sued, for trying to interfere. If the abuse becomes physical, sexual or threatens physical or sexual harm, call the police. The schools aren’t equipped to handle that level of abuse. The police are.