FindLaw.com is the site that legal consumers and professionals come to for accessible and useful legal information. We work hard to give our visitors the kind of knowledge they can use in their everyday lives. FindLaw also provides useful information in the form of news releases, including our latest release, Parents: Prevent Your Child from Being a Victim of Cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying, the bullying of a person through the use of an electronic device such as a computer or cell phone, is becoming a growing national problem.
From fake Facebook pages to the posting of embarrassing videos and photos, more than 20 percent of today's U.S. students, ages 10 to 18, report being a victim of cyberbullying.
Due to the number of highly publicized cases of cyberbullying, colleges, school districts, law enforcement and state legislatures are taking action to address cyberbullying. More than two dozen states have specifically enacted legislation or updated statutes to address the growing problem of cyberbullying, according to FindLaw.com, the leading online resource for legal information.
Here are a few highlights from FindLaw's news release on what parents can do now to prevent cyberbullying:
- Watch for signs. Does your child seem withdrawn? Reluctant to use some forms of technology? Maybe depressed? These are generalizations, but if you've noticed any changes in your child's behavior, he or she may be the victim of technology torment. Have you noticed your child exiting out of a computer screen or smart phone quickly when you walk into a room? Is he or she spending an increasing amount of time on the Internet each day (specifically at night) or using multiple online accounts? Your child could be a cyberbully.
- "It's just a joke." Many kids may not perceive that they are involved in cyberbullying. Creating a fake Facebook page, sending embarrassing photos of another student to each other with a cell phone or other actions involving the Internet or mobile communications may be perceived by kids as "normal," what other kids at their school do, or as "a joke" or "prank." In fact, based on school policies or local or state laws, those "jokes" could get your child in a lot of trouble.
- Set boundaries. It's critical to talk to your child about cyberbullying -- what it is and what to do if your child feels threatened. In addition, parents should set clear boundaries about a young person's use of technology. Clearly communicate your expectations for responsible use of technology and that, while you respect your child's privacy, you intend to monitor it. Explain the consequences if you believe your child is abusing or misusing technology such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, an e-mail account or mobile device, or if it is interfering with their school work.
-- Michelle Croteau, Director, Marketing Communications
with Adam Ramirez, FindLaw Portal Team