Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets, as well as, communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.
Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
The Donegal School District is committed to providing all students with a safe, healthy, and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with mutual respect, tolerance, and dignity. The School District recognizes that bullying creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, detracts from the safe environment necessary for student learning, and may lead to more serious violence. The following is taken from Tips for Preventing Online Bullying by Sharron Kahn Luttrell and is being shared for your information.
- What Is a Cyberbully?
- A cyberbully is someone who uses Internet
technology to act cruelly toward another person. Online attacks often hurt more
than face-to-face bullying because children can be anonymous over the Internet
and behave in ways they never would in person. Online attacks can take on a
life of their own: A false rumor or a cruel prank can spread quickly among
classmates and live on forever in personal computers and cell phones. A fresh
new attack threatens wherever there’s an Internet connection, including the one
place where they should feel safe: home.
A Cyberbully might:
- Use a phone to make repeated prank calls or send
unwanted text messages to the victim.
- Post cruel comments to the victim’s social
network site, send unkind emails or IMs to the victim.
- Create a fake social networking profile to
embarrass the victim.
- Use a victim’s password to break into his/her
account, change settings, lock the victim out, or impersonate the victim.
- Forward the victim’s private messages or photos
to others. The bully may trick the victim into revealing personal information
for this purpose.
- Forward or post embarrassing or unflattering
photos or videos of the victim.
- Spread rumors through IM, text messages, social
network sites, or other public forums.
- Gang up on or humiliate the victim in online
virtual worlds or online games.
Five ways to protect your child:
- Remind your child never to share his/her
passwords, even with good friends.
- If your child has a bad experience online,
he/she should tell you right away. If possible, save the evidence in case you need to take further action.
- Don’t respond to the bully. If the bully sees
that your child is upset, he/she is likely to torment even more. Ignore the harassment if possible, if not; block the bully from contacting your child by using privacy settings and preferences.
- Remind your child to treat others as he/she
wants to be treated. This means not striking back when someone is mean and to support friends and others who are being cyber-bullied.
- Finally, limit the amount of social time your
child is online. Studies show that children are more likely to get into trouble on the Internet—including bullying others or being bullied—the more time they spend online. If you need to, limit the computer time to strictly academics.
Is Your Child a Victim?
- Most children won’t tell their parents that
they’re being bullied because they’re afraid their parents will take away the Internet or insist on complaining to the bully’s parents. Sometimes children who are bullied are ashamed and blame themselves. Reassure your child that nobody deserves to be mistreated. Tell them that some people try to hurt others to
make themselves feel better or because they’ve been bullied themselves. Let your child know that it’s important for you to know what’s going on so you can help.
Signs that your child is being bullied can be hard to spot but may include:
- Seeming nervous or unusually quiet, especially after being online.
- Wanting to spend more or less time than usual on online activities.
- Not wanting to go outdoors or to school.
- Problems sleeping or eating.
- Headaches or stomachaches.
- Trouble focusing on schoolwork.
If you suspect your child is being cyberbullied, talk to him or her. Tell your child that by talking it over, you can work out a plan to deal with bullying. You might:
- Contact the bully’s parents. Be careful if you decide to do this because it can backfire and make the bullying worse. It’s best if you already know the other child’s parents and get along with them.
- Contact your school officials. Make them aware of the problem and ask them to be on the lookout for signs that your child is being bullied at school. The school counselor or principal may have some strategies or even programs in place for handling bullying in school.
- Look into filing a complaint against the bully
if the behavior persists. Most internet service providers, websites, and cell phone companies have policies against harassment. You may be able to have the bully’s account revoked.
- Contact the police if you fear for your child’s
safety. Cyberbullying can cross into criminal behavior if it includes threats of violence, extortion, child pornography, obscenity, stalking, extreme harassment, or hate crimes.
If you learn that your child is being cruel to someone
online, find out why. Often, cyberbullies are victims themselves. If this is the case with your child, go over the suggestions to help protect them against being bullied. But remind them that bullying someone online or off is never ok.
If your child notices someone else being picked
on, encourage him/her to support the victim. Many social websites, such as YouTube and Facebook, allow users to report abuse. Bullies often back down when others make it clear they won’t tolerate rude or nasty behavior.
Cyberbullying may be the most common online
danger, but as a parent, talking openly about the issue is the best way to give your child the tools to protect him or herself from virtual sticks and stones.
Luttrell, S. (n.d.). Tips for Preventing Online Bullying.
Retrieved March 11, 2015, from