Watervliet City Schools masthead
Bullying Prevention and Resources

Cyberbullying: What parents need to know

Communication technology—it’s all around us. From laptops and websites, to cell phones and text messaging, children today are exposed to new communication tools on a regular basis. While many of these devices provide great opportunities for learning, growth, and social networking, they can also become vehicles for bullying and harassment when used inappropriately.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the use of any electronic communication or device—such as e-mail, mobile phones, text messages, instant messaging, websites, blogs (online journals), or digital photography—to intentionally and repeatedly harm, humiliate, or intimidate another person.

Cyberbullying is different from other types of bullying. The anonymity associated with the use of many technologies allows cyberbullies to target their victims without being face-to-face. They do not witness the humiliation their victims feel, and as such are often more vicious with their words than they would be in person.

In addition, tools such as the Internet allow cyberbullies to reach a widespread audience with just the touch of a button or a click of a mouse.

Hidden behind a computer or phone, cyberbullies tend to look at their actions as free of consequence. This is far from true. Targets of cyberbullying may become withdrawn, anxious, depressed, or even aggressive. Students who are being threatened or harassed online often experience difficulty concentrating during the school day and learning is negatively impacted.

Keeping kids safe in cyberspace

With more and more pre-teens and teens using social networking websites like MySpace and FaceBook, cyberbullying has become a major concern. Content posted in photo galleries and on blogs at these web sites could be considered cyberbullying.

Watervliet uses filtering software on all district computers to prevent students from accessing social networking sites such as those mentioned above.

Yet, students can easily visit these sites on home computers with Internet access. As a parent, you will want to be aware of these sites and of the content your child may be posting. Parents are encouraged to talk with their children often about the responsibilities that come with the power of the Internet and other technologies.

If you suspect your child is being cyberbullied, save all evidence (print out e-mails, blogs, etc.). Cyberbullying is typically a violation of “terms of usage” and should be reported directly to your Internet service provider, mobile phone company or the website. If there is any indication that your child is being threatened, call your local law enforcement agency immediately.

In addition, parents can place their home computer in a public area, such as the living room, to monitor usage more closely. Parents may also consider using filtering technology. Filtering software programs allow you to block certain websites, control incoming/outgoing e-mail messages, and set a limit for “online time.”


Printed Resources

 

The Net Neighborhood (PDF)


Online resources
for students, parents, and teachers

Stop Bullying Now

Website published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. Go to website

PBIS

Positive Behavorial Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program currently in use at Watervliet Elementary School. More information

Bullying.org

Canadian-based site filled with useful facts, tips and resources. Go to website

Parenting Suggestions Regarding Technology

Compiled by national speaker John Halligan, whose son, Ryan, died by suicide in October 2003 after being bullied by classmates at school and online. Go to website

GetNetWise

This site is a resource for parents to educate themselves and their children about how to use the Internet safely. It provides information on filtering software and recommends safe sites for children of all ages. Go to website

Family Online Safety Institute

This site of the Internet Content Rating Association contains information and downloads on the content rating system. Go to website