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Cyber Bullying Facts: Is My Child a Cyber Bully?

No parent wants to believe their child is a cyber bully. Who can blame them? The truth is that more than half of all American kids experience cyber bullying either as a participant, victim, or bully. If you believe your child may be a cyber bully there are some steps you can take to find out.
1) Look for Common Warning Signs of Cyber Bullying - The Illinois Attorney General's Office published a checklist of warning signs to look for if you think your child may be a cyber bully. Some of the most common warning signs include your child minimizing the computer screen whenever an adult enters the room, refusing to talk about their social interactions, owning multiple accounts, and altering someone else's photo.
2) Ask Your Child - Direct and simple. If you have been wondering "Is my kid a cyber bully?" one of the easiest ways to find out is to ask them directly. Hopefully they will tell you the truth, but if not it shouldn't be too tough to read their reaction to the question. Explain to your child what a cyber bully is and ask if they have ever participated in those types of actions.
3) Talk To Other Teachers and Parents - If you suspect that your child is involved in online bullying contact other parents or your child's teachers to ask if they are aware of any incidents involving bullying. Asking this question may seem a bit awkward or embarrassing at first but it is especially important that parents are proactive in regard to their child's online activities.
4) Log In to Your Child's Account (With Their Permission) - Unless you feel the need to take immediate drastic measures you could ask your son or daughter if he or she would feel comfortable letting you 'snoop' for a bit. If they agree, let them sit next to you while you browse their profiles, messages, and pictures. Not all kids will agree to this request (especially the older teens) so do not let their disapproval automatically make you believe they are guilty. Everyone values their privacy.
5) Install Internet Monitoring Software on Your Computer - Personally I am not a fan of Internet monitoring software but I know there are many valid reasons to use it. Parents and schools frequently use this type of software to monitor kids' Internet actions and social interactions. I have two good friends that both use Internet monitoring software called PC Tattletale and they're very happy with its results. I would probably use this method as a last-resort.
Hopefully we have provided you with some useful guidelines to find out if your child is a cyber bully. Take the time to talk to your child about cyber bullying and explain to him or her the effect that it has on their peers. Check out another of our useful articles 5 Ways to Prevent Cyber Bullying.

Cyber Bullying Facts: My Personal Experience With Cyber Bullying

One would think that at my age (I'm 29) I would not have to deal with cyber bullies, and I had wrongfully believed that cyber bullies were just young kids and teenagers making fun of their peers online up until a couple years ago when I began developing and managing various websites.
One of the more recent websites I have managed provides users with news and current events from the perspective of multiple authors who are all United States military veterans. After the website had gone live the authors had begun to receive many compliments for the quality of content they were producing. However it did not take long before adult cyber bullies (also known as trolls) began to rear their foul-mouthed heads.
At first I was horrified. I could not believe the nastiness written in the comments section of many of the articles. I was forced to make a choice: Should I argue with them and feed their egos or should I ignore them? I can't lie -- It was a tough choice. As much as I wanted to rip apart their illogical arguments (along with a few arms, legs, and ears) I knew that I would be playing right into their hands so I chose to ignore them.
A smart choice. After a couple weeks of not responding to their taunts the trolls began to fade away. Not that their activity has stopped completely but the regular visiting trolls seem to have focused their energy on other endeavors for a while.
As an adult I knew not to take those comments personally but I remember being so frustrated for a while. It wasn't until this all happened that I realized how tough it would be growing up as a child today where the Internet and easy anonymity is pervasive in society. I think I was eight when my family bought its first computer and I took my first taste of the Internet. But back then there was no Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or texting so I never even thought twice about being bullied online. I can only imagine what kids today have to deal with.
That's why it is important to realize that even adults are capable of cyber bullying, and just like children, many adults might not even realize that their actions constitute bullying. Bad habits like smoking, unhealthy eating, and spitting can be easily passed on from parent to child. Try to make sure that cyber bullying isn't one of those bad habits that you pass on to yours.

Cyber Bullying Facts: 5 Ways to Prevent Cyber Bullying

According to the National Crime Prevention Association, cyber bullying happens when teens use the Internet, cell phones, or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.
More than 50% of all American teens have been a victim of cyber bullying so it is imperative that students, parents, and educators are aware of ways to stop it.
1) Do Not Participate - This may sound like common sense but many teens do not realize that they are guilty of cyber bullying by commenting on or sharing offending text or pictures, even if they were not the ones who originally started the bullying. Make sure your kids or students know that they should refuse to take part in these actions.
2) Block the Cyber Bully - Most social networking websites, cell phones, and other messaging applications have functions that will allow a user to block messages or other types of communication from specific individuals. It is possible (and quite easy) for dedicated bullies to create fake profiles and accounts to get around certain blocks however.
3) Direct Action - Rather than immediately tell an adult about an instance of cyber bullying, students can also choose to ask the bully to stop directly. Sometimes this form of direct communication can be very effective, but its success also depends highly on other variables including personalities, relationships, and environment.
4) Tell An Adult - One of the tougher actions for a teenage child to take is telling an adult when a friend or classmate is being bullied. Many students are afraid of the possible retaliation by peers when thought of as a 'tattle-tale'. If an issue is brought up by a student, educators or officials should do their best to protect the anonymity of the whistle blower.
5) Preventative or Proactive Education - There are not a whole lot of teenagers who will sit down at their computer and research cyber bullying. That means it is crucial that parents and educators take a proactive approach to educating kids about cyber bullying. Teach them ways to identify, prevent, and report cyber bullying and let them know that they should feel safe reporting instances of bullying to a trusted adult.
Children are affected every day by cyber bullying and some have even gone as far as to take their own lives because of it. Please share this information with your children or students.
Tell them this rule of thumb: If they wouldn't say it in person, they shouldn't say it online.