Thursday, October 20, 2011

Preventing Cyberbullying Top Ten Tips for Parents

Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D.
Cyberbullying Research Center

1. Establish that all rules for interacting with
people in real life also apply for interacting
online or through cell phones. Convey that
cyberbullying inflicts harm and causes pain in the
real world as well as in cyberspace.
2. Make sure your school has Internet Safety
educational programming in place. This should not
solely cover the threat of sexual predators, but also
how to prevent and respond to online peer
harassment, interact wisely through social
networking sites, and engage in responsible and
ethical online communications.
3. Educate your children about appropriate
Internet‐based behaviors. Explain to them the
problems that can be created when technology is
misused (e.g., damaging their reputation, getting in
trouble at school or with the police).
4. Model appropriate technology usage. Don't
harass or joke about others while online, especially
around your children. Don't text while driving. Your
kids are watching and learning.
5. Monitor your child's activities while they are
online. This can be done informally (through active
participation in, and supervision of, your child’s
online experience) and formally (through software).
Use discretion when covertly spying on your kids.
This could cause more harm than good if your child
feels their privacy has been violated. They may go
completely underground with their online behaviors
and deliberately work to hide their actions from you.
6. Use filtering and blocking software as a part of
a *comprehensive* approach to online safety, but
understand software programs *alone* will not keep
kids safe or prevent them from bullying others or
accessing inappropriate content. Most tech‐savvy
youth can figure out ways around filters very quickly.
7. Look for warning signs that something
abnormal is going on with respect to their technology
usage. If your child becomes withdrawn or their
Internet use becomes obsessive, they could either be
a victim or a perpetrator of cyberbullying.
8. Utilize an “Internet Use Contract” and a “Cell
Phone Use Contract” to foster a crystal‐clear
understanding about what is appropriate and what is
not with respect to the use of communications
technology. To remind the child of this pledged
commitment, we recommend that these contracts be
posted in a highly visible place (e.g., next to the
9. Cultivate and maintain an open, candid line of
communication with your children, so that they are
ready and willing to come to you whenever they
experience something unpleasant or distressing in
cyberspace. Victims of cyberbullying (and the
bystanders who observe it) must know for sure that
the adults who they tell will intervene rationally and
logically, and not make the situation worse.
10. Teach and reinforce positive morals and
values about how others should be treated with
respect and dignity.

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