SafetyNet surveyed more than 10,000 teens across San Diego and asked them, "Would you tell your parents if someone was bullying you online?" A full 60% said "NO!" The reasons given for not reporting to parents were:
- I don't want my computer or phone taken away.
- I don't want my parents coming to the school and embaressing me.
- I don't want to get in trouble for downloading apps I am not allowed to use.
- I don't want my parents to know what my friends are really like.
- I'm not a baby anymore, I can handle it myself.
Parents may recall growing up with the attitude that bullying just happens- bullies will grow out of the behavior and victims will get over it. This attitude has thankfully been debunked! Law enforcement, schools and families are now taking cyberebullying and bullying seriously. Many states, including California, and school districts now include bullying in any form as a disciplinary action.
Cyberbullying is defined as when a child purposefully intimidates, harrassess, threatens, humiliates, harms or otherwise targets another child using their computer, cell phone or other interactive device. If this happens, follow the steps below:
Block the person from your cell phone, social networking sites and email. Save the texts, photos and offending messages.
Getting back at the bully turns the situation into a fight, and then both kids are assigned blame and consequences.
Talk to a trusted adult.
It's good to involve a parent but - if you can't - a teacher, counselor, coach, friend or relative usually knows how to help. If you're nervous about saying something, see if there's a way to report the incident anonymously at school.
Be a friend, not a bystander.
Forwarding mean messages or just standing by and doing nothing empowers bullies and hurts victims even more. Support victims by friending them, offering a kind word and reporting bullies to parents or teachers, this can usually be done anonymously if you fear retaliation.
Teach your kids to get adult help if something uncomfortable happens online. Remind them it is not “telling” or “snitching” if someone may be in danger or is getting hurt.