Bullies in Cyberspace: 5 Steps Every Parent Can Take Against A Cyberbully

Colin Hawkins – Ebony Magazine, Feb. 2011

CyberBullying, the exchange of messages with the intent to harm sent via computers, cell phones and other electronic devices, often has devastating consequences. Some victims – usually targeted on blogs, bash boards and Web sites that feature nude pictures, sexually explicit messages or even video – have even commited suicide.

Tyronne Jacques, an online reputation expert who helps corporations with image control problems, is currently extending his services to parents who want to deflect the trauma of cyberbullying on their children. “It’s not Facebook or Twitter that [is the problem],” according to Jacques, the author of How to Fight Google and Win.. “It’s the stuff that lands out there on other sites that can be real damaging, but there are some simple steps that parents can take. Parents can’t delete the information that is indexed on Google, but they can bury it.”

How to Fight A Cyberbully:

Step 1: Find out who is hosting the Web site or blog containing the offensive matieral. Parents can petition to have a defaming site taken down after they have identified the host, which they can do on http://www.whoishostingthis.com.

Step 2: Create an alert for your child’s name. Alerts can be created on Google free of charge. Do a search for “Google Alerts.” “For my teenaged daughter, I have an alert that lets me know whenever her name comes up. The moment her name appears on a Web site, I get an e-mail letting me know.

Step 3: There is no technology that will notify a parent if their child is sending out offensive messages. Jacques says, instead, parents should monitor “Sent” boxes on computers and phones. “Also, don’t buy kids adult technology, such as Skype, which allows video conferences between users.”

Step 4: Take action once you have found the culprit(s). “Remember that cyberbulling generally happens at 8 or 9pm. Even so, you can make the determination to get the school or even police involved.

Step 5: Have a talk with your child about bullying. 42% of kids will encounter bullying while online. Make sure that your child knows the risks of sending nude pictures or explicit video, known as sexting.