How to Address Cyber-Bullying
Signs of cyber-bullying:
- Using electronic devices late at night more than usual.
- Grades are declining.
- Misbehaving in school more than usual.
- Changes in ordinary daily activities and conditions such as eating, sleeping, mood swings, etc.
- Appears upset after on-line use. Or, in general seems more anxious and fearful, especially as it relates to school attendance.
- 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, images, posts and texts (including full headers), emails as evidence for future use.
- If the cyber-bullying is coming through email or 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. SchoolCounselor.com 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. www.StopBullying.gov.