When kids get bullied on a school bus or at school, there are ways to keep a bully from continuing his or her threatening behavior by alerting school authorities and becoming involved in the education that concerns bullying. When bullying goes from the playground or school hallways into the online world in which many tweens and teens socialize, there are less ways to protect them but the results of online bullying can be just as harmful as “real life” bullying.
With any bullying, the best prevention is parental involvement including knowing where your child is socializing online, to monitoring their activity directly. Recently, a California court ruled that online bullying is not protected by free speech, a favorite argument that is presented when bullies are confronted with their own words that have been captured through computers or cell phones. The abundance of ways in which children may be protected, however, are only as good as the knowledge and interest of their parents or caretakers. Many of these tactics include knowing where the child is socializing online and monitoring that activity, blocking websites, keeping a computer in a central location to visually monitor activity or even taking away cell phone access at bedtime. If a parent is still confused about how to best keep the bullies out of their child’s online life, they can consult a computer security professional for tips and strategies.
Taking away a bully’s ability to harm another is a big step in preventing online bullying. Its important to respect your child’s privacy, but when a problem presents itself, its time to act and take control of the situation before anything detrimental happens. With the recent news of a suicide related to cyber bullying, it is imperative that parents and caregivers take control over their children's exposure to online social networks and websites, protect them, and teach them that they have ways of getting the harassment to stop.