As federal officials convene this week to find ways to prevent online bullying, parents can start taking action at home to help their kids take control of their digital worlds.
A New York Times article today advises parents to closely monitor all the social networks they belong to and be savvy about "friends" they accept into their network. Most of these networks allow users to delete negative comments, videos, and photos, and to block them from their accounts.
- Report abusers to the site where the bullying is happening.
- Block harassing senders from email and phones.
- Use sites like SafetyWeb and SocialShield to monitor language being used.
- Call the cops when necessary. When threats get out of control, it's time to involve the authorities.
MORE TOOLS ONLINE
The web is full of useful resources on how to deal with cyber-bullying issues.
- Stop Bullying. According to the site, a survey of 13-18 year-olds revealed that 15% had been cyberbullied online,10% had been cyberbullied by cell phone, while 7% said they had cyberbullied another person online, and 5% had cyberbullied another person by cell phone. The site features webisodes for parents and kids on how to deal with bullying.
- Committee for Children. Here, you can watch videos of middle school programs being taught in the classroom and interviews with kids about their tactics.
- Cyberbully 411. This one is aimed at teens who are being bullied, gives them a space to share their stories, and ideas for how to talk to their parents.
- Bullying.org. Multitudes of resources here, but an especially great round of links for teachers here.
- The Cyberbullying Research Center. Shows recent research on incidents of cyberbullying.