Steve Cross

Article Summary:

Cyberbullying is a real threat to your child. Playground bullies have moved indoors, only now, using the Internet and email, the bullies are both boys and girls.

Cyberbullying: What Parents Should Know

A man named Bill Belsey is officially recognized as creating the term "Cyberbullying". Here's how Bill defines it....

"Cyberbullying involves the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and pager text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal Web sites, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others."

What it means is other kids sending your kids threats, abuse, and profanity. According to a report on National Public Radio on 3/3/06, 30% of all girls have been bullied. Playground bullies have moved indoors, only now, using the internet and email, the bullies are both boys and girls. Your kids are not safe from this. Kids have become so despondent that they have taken their own lives over cyberbullying.

Here are 5 ways you can help stop cyberbullying:

1. Talk with your kids. Let them know they are not alone; you are there to help. And let them know they did nothing wrong. Some people are just bullies.

2. If your kids are being bullied, save all of their emails and the text messages they have received. These will be useful to law enforcement and educators. ISPs and cell phone companies can use these to find and disconnect perpetrators.

3. If one of your kids is being cyber bullied, report it to the police. Be persistent, and report the offenses. Also show copies of the emails and text messages to law enforcement.

4. If your kids won't talk with you about it, buy and install internet monitoring software. This is a kind of low cost software that will hide on their computer and monitor text, chat, IM, and emails. The best of these will email you reports.

5. And last, if your kid is on the giving end of cyber bullying, you must take away their privileges immediately. You have liability here, both ethical and legal.

Steve Cross, President of Guardian Software, is a columnist, author, and the former President of family-friendly internet pioneer YourFreeStuff.com. Steve wrote the book "Changing Channels", and was a columnist for the Gartner Group's "Channel Media" newsletters for years. Before purchasing Guardian Software he served in senior level executive positions with several software companies. For more information visit Guardian Software.

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