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Cyberbullying is the practice of posting or sending harmful images or text via the internet or other technical communication tools, such as cell phones, e-mail, text messages, chat rooms, social networking environments such as My Space and Facebook. Following are some tips for parents and educators to help keep kids safe.
1. Tell students to never pass along harmful or cruel messages or images.
2. Train students to delete suspicious email messages without opening them.
3. Ask students to stand up to friends who are cyberbullying and tell them to stop.
4. Teach students how to utilize technology to block communication with cyberbullies.
5. Speak to students about the importance of communicating with a parent or an adult about any cyberbullying they are witness to.
6. At home, make sure to supervise your child’s time on the computer and the internet. A helpful idea is to put the computer in a common area, such as the kitchen.
7. Addressing cyberbullying at school is crucial. One may want to help initiate a formal policy for dealing with any cyberbulling actions. Be sure that students completely understand the consequences of cyberbullying and the seriousness of this issue.
8. Create a community outreach program to help educate individuals that are outside of the school to the dangers of cyberbullying. One positive step towards a greater understanding would be to have students work with the Chamber of Commerce or another civic group to create an awareness campaign.
9. Teach students the basics of smart behavior for using the internet, such as never revealing passwords or real last names.
10. Pay a lot of attention. If you notice a child is withdrawn, depressed or reluctant to attend school or social events do not ignore this. Focus, investigate and provide whatever needs to be done to help the child.
Teaching children to “take five” before they respond to something online is a great place to start. Some ways to help them calm down from cyberbullying actions is to step away from the computer. This may include such things as doing yoga, or deep-breathing, running, or playing catch, shooting hoops.