Last month, there was another sad case of a young lady named Rebecca Ann Sedwick of Florida, who jumped to her death after being cyber-bullied by “friends” for nearly a year.

This is a very real problem among our youth, and we, as parents, need to get pro-active.

You and I did not grow up in a generation of cyber-bullying.  Maybe you didn’t even have a cell phone as a teen (I sure didn’t)!  It doesn’t cross our minds that we need to have “the talk” about cyber-bullying.

Here are some things you can do to be proactive with your children.

  • Be aware of what your kids are doing online.  Ask them for passwords for all social media accounts, and ask them to “friend” you on their accounts as well.  This allows you to see what people are posting on their profiles, and what they’re posting on others’.
  • If you can’t monitor your kids’ internet use, set up security controls on the computer.
  • If you’re worried about your kids’ safety for any reason, it’s OK to read text messages and online messages.  Legally, if you’re paying for the device or service, and you are the user’s guardian, you have both a right and a responsibility to protect your child, and other children whom your child contacts through any electronic media.
  • Tell your kids it’s not ok to say hurtful or threatening things to other people via text message or social media.
  • Tell your kids if they’re feeling sad or scared about a message they have received, to let you know right away, and that they will not be punished for telling you.
  • Report any cyber-bullying activity to the police right away.
  • Seek professional help if your child seems unusually depressed, withdrawn, angry, eats or sleeps more or less than usual, or doesn’t want to leave the house.  These are signs that your child may be the victim of cyber-bullying.

Have you talked to your kids about cyber-bullying?  Has your child experienced cyber-bullying?