What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying, like bullying, is the repeated use of threats, intimidation, humiliation or violence to cause harm to another. However, unlike regular bullying, cyberbullying can happen when the victim and perpetrator are separated, and at any time – day or night.
Because the use of texts, IMs, and social media are often beyond the sight of adults, it can be harder to notice the abuse. At the same time, it’s often easier for the abuse to spread, due to the ease with which online communications are shared.
There’s no easy answer when it comes to preventing bullying, cyber or otherwise. However, like most things, instituting basic guidelines and keeping an open line of communication can help kids stay safe and keep adults aware of abusive behavior – on their child’s part or another’s.
Check out the following resources and tools for more information on cyberbullying:
UMatter, a website put together by Columbia Public Schools, offers facts and advice on dealing with bullying and cyberbullying, for both students and parents. Learn more about warning signs to look out for, as well as ways to deal with cyber-harassment, on their blog.
“Halt”, a free app currently available for iPhones, allows parents to see their child’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts before they go live. Parents can then allow or block posts, or review them to keep updated on their child’s activities – like what they’re saying, and to whom.
Tina Meier, founder of the Megan Meier Foundation, will be appearing at Kid City to speak to parents about the dangers of cyberbullying. Tina’s daughter, Megan, was the victim of cyberbullying – her death prompted the passing of Megan’s Law, criminalizing abusive communications.
Kid City is this Saturday, August 23rd, from 9 AM – 3 PM at the Holiday Inn in Columbia, MO.
StopBullying.gov is geared towards informing adults about bullying and cyberbullying behaviors in children. It also outlines when such behavior should be reported to law enforcement. The statistics it highlights can be a good way to start conversations with kids about their experiences with cyberbullying, as well.