CYBERBULLYING INCLUDES: sending mean messages or threats via any communication portal, spreading rumors, sexts, or sexually suggestive pictures, posting hurtful or threatening messages about others, and pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person. Students who admit to having cyberbullied someone point to unsurprising reasons: to show off to friends, a desire to be mean to or embarrass someone, for fun or out of boredom, as retribution, or because “they deserved it.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES points out in an article found here ,... “Cyberbullies themselves resist easy categorization: the anonymity of the Internet gives cover..." But parents, floundering to protect their children, keep an eye on their online activities, and understand new technology should not feel helpless about this problem. The first step that many parents struggle with but must take is to make an effort to become cell-phone and social media literate. It is important to understand the methods that teens use to communicate, which can be abused as harassment tools. Then, parents need to implement security software on home computers, including keyloggers, and find a way to keep tabs on cell phone and mobile device activity - as that same NYT article says, to turn “cell phones into parenting tools.”
CONSTANT ACCESS to the internet and social media today, whether through mobile devices, laptops, school computers, or personal gaming systems, presents an invitation to online harassment. Experience has shown that cyberbullying represents a real threat to mental health and physical safety. A recent survey conducted by cyberbullying.us with a random sample of 200 11 to 16 year olds in the southern United States found that 19.0 percent of girls and 16.1 percent of boys admit to having cyberbullied others. Based on trends in internet access, especially to social networks via cell phones and personal mobile devices, coupled with the common belief that cyberbullying is easy to hide from parents and teachers, this figure has increased since the survey.
PARENTS HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO STOP CYBERBULLYING! Tools that directly interact with digital communication devices offer parents and easy way to meet their responsibilities without constantly having to be present to watch over their teens.