Dealing with Cyberbullying: Tips for Parents
It’s almost impossible to protect your child completely from peer meanness, but there are steps parents can take to prevent or reduce cyberbullying behavior or victimization.
- Set clear rules about the use of computers and cell phones, making it clear that using technology to hurt someone is wrong.
- If you give your child a web-enabled smartphone, laptop or tablet, draw up a contract for it’s appropriate use. You can find many examples of these contracts online.
- Place the computer(s) with Internet access in a public place (den, living room, kitchen) in the home.
- Monitor your child’s behavior online. Check the sites she visits and the individuals with whom she communicates.
- If your child has a Facebook or similar page or pages, ask to view them occasionally. Talk about what’s appropriate to post, privacy issues and friending others..
- Teach your child basic safety rules and netiquette. Tell him never to share personal information online or send an e-mail when angry or upset. Kids should never write anything they wouldn’t say in person.
- Ask your child to tell you if she knows that someone is being bullied online.
- Inform the school when your child is being victimized.
- Report online harassment to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and/or Telephone Company.
Each time the Internet is accessed an IP (Internet Protocol) address is established (12 numbers punctuated by 3 periods) that can be used to trace all communications between computers and/or cell phones. Even if a cyberbully uses someone else’s screen name, authorities can locate his computer and track the harassment. If the bully uses another computer, there may be a logon record or other evidence of the user’s identity. Teens need to know that cyberbullying is never really anonymous and often punishable by law.
Suffolk County Law
The Suffolk County Legislature passed a law in 2010 making cyber-bullying against a minor a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in prison. Something else to share with your son or daughter.
Cyberbullying Fact Sheet NYS
Last updated August 8, 2015