Dealing with Cyberbullying
Q: How can I help my middle grader stay safe from online bullying?
A: First, explain that what may seem like common online behavior can be cyberbullying. If friends post or share embarrassing photos or videos of others, classmates spread rumors on cell phones, or peers send hurtful messages via social media, that's crossing the line. If done purposely and repeatedly, it's considered cyberbullying.
Also, point out that what happens online may have serious, real-life consequences. A humiliating photo gone viral could cause the victim to stay away from friends or hurt himself/herself. And the bully can get into trouble at home, at school, or even with the law.
If your teen receives a bullying email, text or social media message, tell him/her not to respond. That may make the situation worse. Instead, have them save or print it to keep a record. Then, he/she should block the sender and tell you about it so you can decide what to do, such as notifying your internet provider or the school.