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.