Desktop version

Home arrow Communication

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Guidance on Responding to Cyberbullying against Children

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides guidance for parents and children on how to prevent cyberbullying. The HHS urges parents to talk with their children about cyberbullying and other online issues on a regular basis and to stay informed about the websites children visit and their other online activities.

Installing parental control software or monitoring programs are one option for monitoring a child’s online behavior, but parents cannot rely solely on these tools. Parents should

  • ? Have a sense of what their children do online and in texts.
  • ? Learn about the sites they like.
  • ? Try out the devices they use.
  • ? Ask for their passwords, but tell them it will only use them in case of emergency.
  • ? Ask a friend to, or follow kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.
  • ? Encourage children to immediately report if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that their computers and cell phones will not be taken away if they confide in parents about a problem they are having.
  • ? Establish rules about appropriate use of computers, cell phones, and other technology.
  • ? Provide guidance to children about what they post or say online.
  • ? Tell them not to share anything that could hurt or embarrass themselves or others.
  • ? Teach children how to keep their passwords safe and not share them with friends [3].

It is important that parents document and report instances of cyberbullying. Parents should immediately take the following steps:

  • ? Do not respond to and do not forward cyberbullying messages.
  • ? Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Record the dates, times, and descriptions of instances when cyberbullying has occurred.
  • ? Save and print screenshots, e-mails, and text messages. Use this evidence to report cyberbullying to web and cell phone service providers.
  • ? Block the person who is cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying often violates the terms of service established by social media sites and Internet service providers. Parents should review the terms of service and conditions or rights and responsibilities sections of the social media applications or websites their children use. The terms of service generally describe content or activities that are or are not appropriate and how to block users and change settings to control who can contact a child or family.

Cyberbullying activities considered to be a crime and that should be reported to law enforcement include threats of violence, child pornography or sending sexually explicit messages or photos, taking a photo or video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy, and stalking and hate crimes.

Cyberbullying can also create a disruptive environment at school and is often related to in-person bullying. The school can use the information to help inform prevention and response strategies. In many states, schools are required to address cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policy. Some state laws also cover off-campus behavior that creates a hostile school environment [4].

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Related topics