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Bullying doesn’t always happen on the playground. Cyber bullyingoften occurs when a minor uses the Internet or an electronic deviceto send hurtful or embarrassing messages to another minor. This canmean spreading rumors, posing as another person online or trickingsomeone into revealing personal information. Cyber bullying ishurtful and stressful for children of all ages.

Here are some tips to help prevent your child from being cyberbullied:

Don’t respond – Clearing one’s name online can seem important,but confronting a cyber bully can worsen the circumstances. Afterall, most bullies’ motivation is simply to get a reaction out oftheir victims. Escape hostile situations by logging off of yoursatellite Internet orhigh-speed wireless connection and blocking tormenters at the firstinstance of harmful communication. Report bullies to websitemoderators and Internet service providers (ISPs) as soon as theharassment begins.

Collect evidence – Keep a record of the incidents by savingrelevant e-mails, messages and postings as proof in case lawenforcement becomes involved. Websites like the non-profit InternetArchives contain databases of saved Internet caches that may alsoserve as evidence. Also, type your name into a search engine tomake sure there are no false profiles or personal informationposted in your name by others.

Determine its source – Try to find out the bully’s identity bydetermining where your child first encountered him or her and whatinformation he or she knows about your child. Make sure that yourchild’s social networking profile or blog doesn’t reveal contactinformation, as improper Internet security may be to blame. Checkthat you have a secure Internet connection so that your family’spersonal information isn’t available to bullies.

Report incidents – Cyberbullying laws vary by state so contact local law enforcement assoon as you suspect the bullying has gotten out of control. Schooladministrators should also get involved if the bully and victim arein school together as they may help alleviate tension during thedaytime. Also, remember to alert moderators of websites about theharmful or embarrassing materials on which they appear so they canbe on the lookout for potential defamation.

Refuse to participate – Sometimes cyber bullies will recruitothers to join in on the bullying. Teach children that even if itseems harmless or just good fun at first, they should always avoidembarrassing others online and becoming involved in a cyberbullying scandal – or worse, legal case. Discouraging a potentialbully can also prevent hurt feelings, trouble and physical bullyingin the long run, so have a discussion with your children today.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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