Stop online bullying

Ten tips on how to protect your child from cyber bullies

Ten tips to identify and stop cyber-bullying

1. Tell your kids not to open or read emails from suspected cyber-bullies. Teach kids to immediately dump suspicious emails in the trash.

2. Teach your children to NEVER agree to meet someone who they met online in person. People can disguise themselves as anyone they want online. They should never give them any personal information.

3. Monitor the use of your child’s photo online. Many cyber-bullies will take your child’s photo and manipulate it in ways that are damaging or embarrassing.

4. Watch out for signs that your child may be already suffering from cyber-bulling. Always keep the communication “door-open.” Common warning signs include depression and withdrawal from social situations.

5. Cyber-bullies can easily be blocked using most chat programs and/or email programs. Teach your child how to filter out online people who they don’t want to communicate with.

6. Monitor your children’s online activity either by directly getting involved or subversively. You can improve your ability to accomplish this by removing computers with an Internet connection from the child’s bedroom and/or designating specific “family hours” for Internet use. Have a list of rules posted by the computer on what they are allowed or not allowed to do online (i.e. no using chat rooms) even when they are using computers elsewhere.

7. Teach your children to never share their passwords and/or personal information with anyone. One of the fastest-growing types of cyber-bullying is stealing someone’s identity and making embarrassing, damaging statements in that person’s name.

8. Stay true to your mission and don’t back down from your obligation to protect your children from harm.

9. Share your concerns by talking to school officials and other groups your child is involved in. If you suspect any cyber-bullying you need to escalate your concerns to officials immediately to determine if they have a policy in place to deal with such behavior.

10. Be willing to contact law enforcement officials. Parents who’ve gathered evidence of cyber-bullying,especially if there has been threats to the health and well-being of the child, should immediately contact the police.

Mark Bernard

Sooke