How to Address Cyber-Bullying

Signs of cyber-bullying:
  • Your child is using their computer late at night more than usual.
  • Your child’s grades are declining.
  • He or she is misbehaving in school more than usual.
  • Changes in ordinary daily activities and conditions such as eating, sleeping, mood swings, etc.
  • Your child appears upset after Internet use. Or, in general seems more anxious and fearful, especially as it relates to school attendance.
  • There is some evidence that your child is covering their online tracks.
If your child is being cyber-bullied:
  • Stay calm and maintain open communication with your child. Let them know that you trust and support them. Work with trusted adults at school such as a principal, teacher or counselor.
  • Strongly encourage your child not to respond to the cyber-bullying.
  • Explain that taking vengeance is not solving the problem and that it could make the situation worse.
  • Help your child to keep all records including chat transcripts, photos, website pages, emails (including full headers) as evidence for future use.
  • If the cyber-bullying is coming through email or a cell phone, it may be possible to block future contact from the individual who cyber-bullied. Of course, he or she may assume a different identity and continue the bullying.
  • Contact your school. If the cyber-bullying is occurring  through your school district’s Internet system, school administrators have an obligation to intervene. Even if the cyber-bullying is occurring off campus, make your school administrators aware of the problem. They may be able to help you resolve the cyber-bullying or be watchful for  face-to-face bullying.

This list has been adapted from Russell A. Sabella, PhD. e-newsletter Issue #70 October 4th 2006 and a publication originally created for “Take a Stand. Lend a Hand. Stop Bullying Now!” a campaign of the Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.