by Steven Fernandez, Flickr.com
Cyber-bullying – bullying conducted over the Internet, using e-mail, social networks, texting and/or attack websites – is an increasingly common problem, and could affect as much as 33% of young people. Lately, high-profile cases of cyber-bullying have been covered by the media, inspiring legislation and crackdowns. President Obama himself has made a strong statement condemning all forms of bullying. Luckily, there are many resources, both in the library and on the Internet, to help parents prevent and respond to this problem.
StaySafeOnline.org offers an excellent list of tips for cyber-bullying prevention and response, as does the National Crime Prevention Council. Check out the Cyberbullying Research Center for research and news about cyberbullying, as well as printable resources for school or home. Stop Bullying Now, a website of the US Department of Health and Human Services, is designed specially for kids, and includes animated videos.
For more information on cyber-bullying and bullying in general, take a look at these books and resources:
7 Ways to Block a Cyberbully and Cyber Safe: Identifying and Combating Cyber Bullies (DVD's).
The Bully, The Bullied and the Bystander
And, for kids:
Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends
Hot Issues, Cool Choices
Jay McGraw's Life Strategies for Dealing With Bullies
Whether you look at any of the resources above or not, here are some tips to remember:
1. Being involved in your child's online life and knowing what they do online can help prevent cyber-bullying from getting out of hand.
2. Know the resources available to you -- your school may already have an anti-bullying policy. Your e-mail, social network and cell phone providers probably have policies to respond to online harassment.
3. Remember, bullying is not normal, and no one should have to put up with it!