Just like we teach our children strategies to keep themselves safe in the physical world, children need to learn strategies which could help them from becoming a target. At home, supervise your child’s time online. Putting the computer in a common area, such as the kitchen, is a good idea.
- Talk regularly with your children about their online activities.
- Talk specifically about cyberbullying and encourage your children to tell you immediately when they are victims of illegal or troublesome behavior.
- Encourage your children to tell you if they are aware of others who may be the victims of such behavior.
- Explain that cyberbullying is harmful, unacceptable behavior. Outline your expectations for responsible online behavior and make it clear there will be consequences for inappropriate behavior.
- Adults must respect the privacy of children and youth, but safety concerns will at times have to override privacy issues. Tell your children you may review their online communications when you think it is necessary to do so.
Create a Family Internet agreement which includes the following:
- Use an email or screen name that does not give age or gender
- Do not send messages when angry
- Don’t open or read messages from a cyber-bully
- Don’t give people you don’t know your instant messaging name or e-mail address.
- On Social Network sites, only accept people as friends who you know are friends and never load Applications such as the Honesty Box where people can post comments anonymously
Reporting. If your child receives rude and harassing e-mails, messages, and postings, make a report at cybertipline.com. Also contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or cell phone provider.