Special education students are especially at-risk for bullying by peers. Learn about a new form of bullying called cyberbullying and how you can help prevent your child from becoming a victim.
1. Cyberbullying - Know What Cyberbullying MeansCyberbullying is the latest form of bullying that takes place online. It can also be used to describe harassment by cellular phone, or any other type of abuse involving use of technology to harass, intimidate, or damage the reputation of the victim.
2. Understanding Cyberbullying - Why Cyberbullying is Difficult to ControlProtecting your child from cyberbullying is challenging because it is difficult to stop bullying over the Internet. Bullies can be anonymous, finding and removing the damaging material online can be difficult, and schools have little or no control over technology students have in their homes.
3. Learn What You Can do to Protect Your Child
Teach your child to establish healthy boundaries online and not to respond to harassment of any kind online. She should not respond to negative emails, aggressive or attacking chat messages, or negative bulletin board postings. Monitor her online activity to ensure she is not communicating with bullies. Schools are beginning to include cyberbullying in codes of conduct and are beginning to punish offenders causing disruption at school. Report instances of cyberbullying to the principal. At home, use parental controls on your Internet provider software to block instant messages, chat rooms, and emails from all but trusted friends. Download free web protection for all your computers at K9 Protection Systems
4. Learn to Recognize Types of CyberbullyingHarassment is typically against the terms of service for Internet providers and operators of bulletin boards. Save electronic copies of harassing emails, instant messages, and bulletin board entries. As a parent, consider whether you should report offenders to those services and/or local police. If so, provide your evidence with your report. In many cases, the providers and police will confront the offenders. Bullies may be bumped from their service provider or bulletin board for violations. This may improve the situation, but it is possible the bully may find another way to get online, so you will need to remain vigilant. Depending on the nature of the bullying, police may pursue criminal charges if a threat is made.
5. Consider Reporting Incidents to Local Law Enforcement and School OfficialsThreats and some types of harassment on the Internet are crimes. If you feel your child is threatened, contact your local law enforcement and school officials for assistance in dealing with the problem. Many schools have anti-bullying policies and programs. Some states have anti-bullying laws that specifically pertain to schools.