Cyberbullying is bullying using electronic devices to initiate repeated negative behavior toward a less-powerful person. Electronic name-calling, shunning and shaming are all forms of cyberbullying. So are spreading rumors, gossiping and making threats online. Washington’s anti-bullying law includes the prohibition of cyberbullying.
What can parents do?
Teach, Monitor, and Report!
Actively monitor your child’s social media use/access by:
- Creating a written Internet safety plan. Set rules for Internet (social media, e-mail, etc.) use by drafting a list of what information NOT to share online, and plans for unsolicited online encounters. Have your teen sign the plan and post it near the computer.
- -Encouraging your children to save messages and report them
-Talk with your child about the media sites they are using, learn from them
-Set aside time to explore the internet together
-Know your child’s friends and parents (where they may have different online privileges/access)
-Block websites or use control features to protect your child from using a site (e.g. blocking software or search online “parent control features”
-Be aware that a smart phone gives your child access to the internet anywhere, anytime.
- Talk frequently with your child about social media risks/concerns.
- Educate your teen to not share any personal contact information on a social media site. If it appears that there are threats being made to your child online, immediately contact local law enforcement. Make copies of what is posted, and preserve the site to show police. They will need to see the live evidence and electronic data.
- Often, many texts and social media contacts are made at night, after your child has gone to bed. Many students report that they wake up multiple times during the night to send, or respond to, messages. Consider having your teen turn in their phone to you every night before bed, getting it back the next morning.
- Encourage your child to report concerns/information to local police or school administrators
- Refrain from posting anything on ANY social media website that pertains to the criminal investigation (avoid interactive behavior on social media websites, Facebook, twitter, ask.fm, etc. that may jeopardize or harm the investigation). This also includes RE-posting information that others post. This will also preserve the safety of our children.
- Update your contact information with the schools, please make sure contact information is current. Check your email and phone messages regularly. Stay tuned for updates via the district website.
- Contact the counseling office at your child’s school if it appears that online bullying is affecting your child at school. The schools want to team with you to provide wrap-around support.
Below are some suggestions to become more actively involved in prevention efforts:
- We strongly encourage parents (and students) to report any concerns or information to local police. Call 911.
- Ask schools about trainings/participation opportunities.
- Assist with school safety – become a volunteer by contacting your school today!
Digital Safety Resources
(Note: All links are in .pdf format)
- Questions Parents Should Ask
- Parent Tips on Social Networking
- Students Guide to Personal Publishing
- Top 10 Tips for Teens; Responding to Cyber-bullying
- Educating & Prevention Ideas for Teens
- OSPI Safety Center Information
- OSPI Safety Links
- Good & Bad Teen Apps Parent Guide – Safe, Smart & Social—Teaching Students How to Shine Online
- Other Resources for Cyberbullying – a ton of resources via the Cyberbullying Research Center website
- Social Media Resources:
Visit the Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying webpage for more information
For more information, visit the OSPI Safety Center Webpage on Cyberbullying & Digital/Internet Safety.