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Ways to Help Youth

Children and youth live at a time of instant access to cell phones, tablets, or computers that opens the door to exciting new ways of connecting, interacting, and learning. However, these new modes of communication also present new challenges for the adults who care for them. Not only do parents and other adults help children and youth navigate in-person social situations, they also need to prepare them for healthy relationships online.

Talking with Children and Youth About Technology and the Potential for Bullying

Today’s youth are the first generation to use technology as a means of bullying. Today’s adults are the first who have had to learn how to address cyberbullying with youth. The following steps can help you explore this topic with kids and teens.

Talk about potential for bullying

Start a conversation with your child or student about cyberbullying, keeping in mind that bullying can be hard for children to talk about with adults for many reasons. They might be:

  • Embarrassed by what is happening
  • Afraid that the bullying will increase if they tell
  • Thinking that it is their problem to solve on their own

Cyberbullying is also complicated in that many students might not interpret the mean and hurtful behavior that happens on their computer or cell phone as bullying. Children may also worry that they will lose access to technology if they tell an adult about cyberbullying.

As you open the subject for discussion, let the child know that you recognize that phones, computers, and being connected online with friends is a significant part of their lives, but that you also want them to know how to be safe and handle cyberbullying. Explain that if something hurtful is communicated online, it is important that they tell you so that you can work through the situation together.

So, When Should I Start the Cyberbullying Conversation with My Child or Student?

Adults should discuss online conduct and behavior, as well as cyberbullying, as soon as children begin using technology. There is potential for cyberbullying whenever children are using technology to interact. It can begin as soon as children have access to a cell phone or computer that they can use to connect to gaming sites, social media, text, direct messaging, or group chats.

To open the subject up for discussion, tell the child:

  • “I understand how important it is to communicate with other kids by phone and online”
  • “You deserve to be safe from bullying online, just like at school, on the playground and in the neighborhood”
  • “If something happening online is hurtful to you, it’s important to tell me about it”

How Do I Start A Conversation About Cyberbullying with My Child Or Student?

Talk with youth about how to handle hurtful online behavior early and often, in the same way that you talk with your kids about being safe at school, in the car, riding public transportation, or playing sports. Visit Questions Answered , which provides a 60-second response, feature article, video, and online poll.

Starting the Conversation About Online Safety | PACERTalks About Bullying, Episode 14

Tips for adults to start the conversation about online safety with their child or student.

Establish online guidelines

Adults set safety rules for children and youth in the physical world, such as guidelines for behavior on the playground, going to the mall or curfews when visiting a friend’s house. Do the same for their cyberworld and do your best to include them in the process. Ask the child what’s important to them concerning their internet use and set boundaries that reflect keeping those activities safe and positive.

Specific advice to keep in mind:

  • Remind children and youth that they never really know who is on the other end of online communication. It could be the person they think it is, but because they cannot see that person they should always proceed with caution in their exchanges. Remind them not to do or say anything online that they wouldn’t do or say in person. Stress that they should not reveal anything that they wouldn’t tell a stranger.
  • Advise them to never share their email or social media account passwords with anyone, even their best friend. That friend may share it with other people, or the friendship may end, and then their private messages could suddenly become very public.
  • Help them determine what is and is not appropriate to share online. This can include avoiding sharing personal photos or data (such as physical descriptions, phone numbers, or addresses).
  • Parents and their children

  • Decide whether you, the adult, will have access to children’s passwords for email accounts, social media, or other technology. If so, determine when you might use their passwords to check on account content.
  • Look through some of the child’s favorite online accounts together to talk about what appropriate posts look like. Giving specific examples of appropriate online content will help them better understand healthy internet use.
  • Ensure that they keep social media accounts private and do not “friend” people they do not know. Establish rules about whether it’s okay for the child to add friends they haven’t met in person, such as a friend of a friend.
  • Establish whether you and the child will be friends on social media accounts and whether you want to moderate the content they share and post online
  • Set hours that technology can and can’t be used. Decide if there will be limits on using technology to communicate with peers, such as no computer or texting after 9 p.m., in class, during mealtimes, or before homework is done.
  • Create a code of conduct, such as they will not use social media to humiliate or embarrass other people, even if they are being targeted by cyberbullying
  • Establish that if your child experiences cyberbullying and shares that with you, their access to technology won’t be restricted

Be Clear, Be Open

Make sure that any restriction of technology is covered in the agreement you’ve made with the child so that they understand what will and will not happen if they talk to you. Always aim to keep the lines of communication open, so that they will feel comfortable coming to you with difficult conversations. Also, for situations in which the child demonstrates cyberbullying behavior, be clear that there will be consequences.

Continue to be involved with the child’s online use

For parents, and care givers, once there are established rules about your supervising access to children’s cell phones, text history, social networking sites, and other computer accounts that they may use for posting information, be sure to frequently remind them about the importance of the established guidelines.

As the child grows and gains access to new technology, remember to evaluate your online safety rules to determine if they are effective and age appropriate. As an adult, you have a responsibility to know what the children under your supervision are doing online. Explore parental control options through internet service and wireless providers and continue to establish what access you will have to the child’s online interactions. If past guidelines are no longer working or no longer apply to your child’s use of technology, then sit down with the child and have the conversation again. Keep encouraging them to talk with you about any inappropriate behavior they see online, whether it’s happening to them, by them, or to others.

Steps to Take When Youth Are Being Bullied Online

If a child or youth tells you that they are being bullied online, be supportive. Cyberbullying is often an isolating experience, and you might be the first person they’ve told about it.

What should you tell the child?

  1. This is not your fault. Make sure they know they should not blame themselves.
  2. You are not alone. Many children feel that no one can help and that nothing will change.
  3. It is not up to you to stop the bullying; we will work together. It’s important that youth and adults are both involved in working toward a solution.
  4. Bullying is never okay. Even though it happens, that never makes it right.
  5. No one deserves to be bullied. All students have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

Document the situation and keep a detailed record

One of the unique aspects of cyberbullying is that it leaves behind a trail of evidence documenting the hurt the child has experienced. Keeping a detailed record of this evidence will help when planning how to resolve the situation. It’s tempting for children who are being cyberbullied to delete messages and other bullying content sent to them, especially if they are trying to ignore the bullying. But this can become problematic if you need to provide proof of the cyberbullying to parents, school officials or law enforcement officials later on. Remember that if there is no evidence of the behavior, it’s almost impossible to prove.

How to capture evidence of cyberbullying:

  • Take screenshots of bullying content on a phone or computer
  • Save emails, messages, and photos
  • Encourage the child to forward hurtful texts to you or another trusted adult so that someone is keeping track of the evidence but the child can delete it from their own device
  • If bullying is also happening in person, make sure to record the date and description of each instance

Contact the social media, site, or app provider

Many social media sites have safety pages that provide guidelines for how to address cyberbullying on their site:

Ideas for Parents

  • Consider using the safety features offered by wireless and internet service providers or social media sites that help block or manage cyberbullying. The privacy settings are always evolving, with new family safeguard and parental control features designed to offer customized solutions to cyberbullying.
  • You can also review privacy settings on your child’s online accounts, mobile apps, computers, and cell phones
  • Have your child take an inventory of their online accounts and check to make sure you are comfortable with the amount and type (videos, photos, etc.) of information they’re sharing with others
  • Suggest they—after documenting—delete, untag, or hide content they are concerned about

Promote self-advocacy

Learning how to communicate what you need is a powerful skill for youth. Self-advocacy—which means communicating on your own behalf, sharing what you need, and then taking action—is especially important in bullying situations as they may be feeling powerless to change what is happening to them. Being part of the solutions helps give them some of the power back.

  • Encouraging children to share their ideas will help restore confidence and teach them how to self-advocate
  • A child-centered solution will also help provide the child with a sense of ownership over positive outcomes and engage them more in achieving those outcomes

As an adult looking for ways to help a child, it’s important to not only be informed, but to also have a plan. Whether they are being bullied, witnessing bullying, or bullying others, you can help to create a plan to change the situation.

Student Action Plan Against Bullying

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center offers the Student Action Plan Against Bullying , a free, downloadable handout which involves youth in the solution equation, along with a helpful guide for parents and educators. The plan and guide can be used to help your child or student think through their situation, discuss how they think it could be different, and identify the steps needed to make that change happen.

Download Spanish Translation  | Download Somali Translation  | Download Hmong Translation

Examples of Self Advocacy | PACERTalks About Bullying, Episode 25

Jody, director of PACER’s Parent Training and Information Center, shares a creative, real-life example to help explain what self-advocacy and the “Student Action Plan” can look like in action.

Parents and Schools Working Together

Today, most schools include cyberbullying in their bullying prevention policy, whether it happens on or off school premises or during school hours. These policies can help prevent cyberbullying and explain how this online behavior might impact your child at school.

When there is a cyberbullying situation, ask for a meeting

If you’re an educator, coach, or counselor and you’ve noticed a child has been cyberbullied or is bullying others online, meet with their parents. If you’re a parent, reach out to the school to meet and discuss the situation. This can be with a teacher, but also ask if the principal, a social worker, or an administrator should attend. During the conversation or meeting, use the steps below to outline a possible plan to address the bullying.

  • Describe the problem clearly
  • Explain how the online bullying is impacting the child offline and in all parts of life
  • Provide any documentation that you have, such as screenshots or text messages or the child’s completed Student Action Plan Against Bullying
  • Review the school’s bullying prevention policy
  • Encourage input from all members at the meeting
  • Brainstorm (without judging the ideas)
  • Develop a plan
  • Define who is responsible for an action and when will it be done
  • Put that plan in writing
  • Create a timeline and criteria to evaluate success
  • Follow up and report outcomes

Steps to Take When Youth Have Witnessed Cyberbullying

First, let the child know how powerful and impactful their response can be. Many bullying situations end when a peer intervenes, which means students play an important role in bullying prevention. However, many are unsure how to take the first step, especially online. As a trusted adult or parent, it’s important to explain to children and teens that they have the power to help others. There are many effective ways to respond when they witness bullying, so encourage your child to do what feels right for them.

Give them ideas for action steps they can take online, such as:

  • Don’t participate or engage. Don’t “like” or share posts that are bullying someone. This sends the message that they don’t agree with what’s happening and it takes attention away from the person who is cyberbullying.
  • Report it. Even if the content isn’t targeting the child, they can still report it to the site or to an adult they trust.
  • Respond with positive support. If the child feels comfortable doing so, and if it’s safe, advise them to post a comment showing solidarity with the target. Ask the child to think about how they would feel if they were being cyberbullied — wouldn’t they want someone to support them? Imagine the difference one nice comment among a bunch of mean ones can make!
  • Reach out to the person being bullied. Your child can send them a private message letting them know that what’s happening is wrong, they don’t deserve to be treated like that, and they’re not alone.

Classroom Ideas

Elementary School Students

What Should You Do?

An activity designed with hypothetical bullying scenarios (that are based on real events), which students can use to think through responses and solutions.

Cyberbullying: What Makes it Unique | PACERTalks About Bullying, Episode 13

The dynamics of using technology to hurt, harm or humiliate another individual or group.

Middle and High School Students

Being Bullied? Cyberbullying and Self-Advocacy: PACER’s Teen Against Bullying resource page designed for students who are being bullied.

Witnessing Bullying? Cyberbullying and Advocacy for Others: PACER’s Teen Against Bullying resource page designed for students who witness bullying.

What Should You Do? An activity designed with hypothetical bullying scenarios (that are based on real events), which students can use to think through responses and solutions.

Teen Talk on Cyberbullying Watch this five-minute video designed to provide authentic insight and perspective from peers on issues related to cyberbullying. Use the suggested discussion questions to continue the dialogue.

Steps to Take When Youth are Cyberbullying Others

If you find out your child or student is cyberbullying others, it’s important to know that bullying is a behavior and that behavior can be changed. Children cyberbully for many reasons, including peer pressure, being bullied themselves, or not realizing the impact their actions can have on others.

Start by talking with the child and exploring reasons for their behavior. This conversation should allow the child to:

  • Discuss how they are feeling
  • Speak up if they are being bullied by someone else
  • Talk about other factors that may be leading to this behavior

Next, teach empathy, respect, and compassion. Children who cyberbully often lack awareness of how others feel. They also often have difficulty understanding that what we do online has real-life consequences; share with them how their online behavior can impact how someone feels or thinks. Try to understand the child’s feelings and help them learn to appreciate how others feel when they are cyberbullied. Let the child know that everyone has feelings and that feelings matter.

Then, make your expectations and consequences clear and consistent. Let the child know that bullying is not okay under any circumstance and will not be tolerated. Explain that there will be consequences for their behavior. Be specific about what will happen and take immediate action if you learn that they’re involved in a cyberbullying incident.

Finally, provide positive feedback and be patient. It takes time to change behavior. Be patient with the child as they learn new ways to handle feelings and conflict. Provide praise and recognition when they child handle online conflict well or find a positive way to deal with their feelings. This type of positive reinforcement goes a long way! Keep your concern and support visible.

Advice to Give to a Child to Prevent Them From Cyberbullying Others

  • Think before you post. If you’re upset, sad, or angry, wait to post or respond. Give yourself some time to cool down, so you don’t do something that you can’t take back.
  • Never publicly reveal anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable with anyone knowing. Remember that when you share something online, it can potentially be seen by anyone, including your parents and teachers.
  • When you make comments about someone else, imagine how you would feel if someone said that about you.

Cyberbullying Youth of Protected Classes

There are legal rights when a child is part of a protected class and is the target of bullying or cyberbullying. The distinction between bullying and harassment is that when the bullying behavior directed at the target is also based on their status as part of a protected class, that behavior may then also be defined as harassment. Protected classes include race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, and national origin.

According to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), online and offline bullying may also be considered harassment when the conduct is sufficiently serious that it interferes with (or limits) a student’s ability to participate in (or benefit from) the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school.

Students with disabilities

There are legal protections and provisions for students with disabilities who are being harassed. All students with disabilities have protections under federal law to ensure they receive a free, appropriate public education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law. It requires that each child who has a disability and qualifies for special education and related services receives a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Each State Department of Education enforces IDEA in their state. Students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) would qualify for these protections.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (often referred to as simply “Section 504”) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II) are other federal laws that apply if the harassment denies a student with a disability an equal opportunity to education. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Section 504 and Title II of the ADA. Students with a 504 plan or an IEP would qualify for these protections.

If a student with a disability is being bullied, these federal laws require schools to take immediate and appropriate action to investigate the issue and take any necessary steps to stop the bullying and prevent it from recurring.

The bullying of a student with a disability on any basis, not just because of their disability, may result in a denial of FAPE that must be remedied by the school. The IEP or 504 team should convene when a student with a disability is bullied for any reason in order to determine whether the student’s needs have changed and whether FAPE is still being provided.

What is the role of schools to address cyberbullying?

Every state has a bullying prevention law or policy that helps districts and schools address bullying. Many of these laws and policies require that schools address cyberbullying in their district policy. Some state laws also cover off-campus behavior that creates a hostile school environment. If a child experiences cyberbullying, check the school’s bullying prevention policy to learn more about the role the school can play in helping youth address the issue.

State Law and Policy

  • Cyberbullying can create a disruptive environment at school and is often related to in-person bullying. The school can use the information to help inform prevention and response strategies.
  • In many states, schools are required to address cyberbullying in their bullying prevention policy. Some state laws also cover off-campus behavior that creates a hostile school environment.
  • Source: StopBullying.gov

Related Resources

Ideas for Addressing Cyberbullying | PACERTalks About Bullying, Season 2, Episode 13

Tips for teens on how to address and prevent cyberbullying, and what to do if they see it happening online.

A Conversation with Your 13-Year-Old about Facebook and Instagram |Sponsored by Facebook, Instagram, and PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center

Connecting Responsibly: Just a generation ago, teens were asking their parents for a phone in their room—maybe even one with a separate line or three-way calling—so they could connect with more friends. Today, a teen’s desire to connect with friends has not changed, but the options for doing so have grown tremendously. Children are not only asking for their own mobile phones at a younger age, but they also want access to popular social media sites and apps, such as Facebook and Instagram. While these platforms offer teens the opportunity to share ideas, photos, videos, and more, these tools should be used responsibly. View the full guide.

Cyberbullying Starts Earlier Than You Might Think — Here’s How to Protect Your Child Now

With kids owning smartphones as early as age 6, knowing the basics of cyber safety is key.

What Every Parents Needs to Know About Protecting Their Child from Cyberbullying

Bullying behavior has been around forever, but cyberbullying presents new challenges—and kids today are the first to experience them.

Helping Your Child Understand Cyberbullying

It was just a generation ago that kids and teens were asking their parents for a phone line in their room so they could connect with friends. Today, a student’s desire to connect with friends has not changed, but the options for doing so have grown tremendously. While young people’s access to technology has evolved over the years, so has the way we communicate with children about online safety and cyberbullying. Posted to Spring 2017 edition of Our Children, the National PTA Magazine.

How to Prevent Cyberbullying: Hands off the keyboard until you’re calm!

Julie Hertzog, the director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center said the following in a recent interview: “Cyberbullying manifests itself as teens using technology to hurt, harm, and humiliate their peers. In some ways, online bullying can be even more devastating than traditional bullying, as an aggressor is able to access an audience 24/7 instead of traditional bullying which is confined to school.” And the hurt can be worse, as “the person being bullied can read and re-read a hurtful text or comment on social media, and experience the hurt over and over again,” Hertzog explains.

How parents can help kids cope in the age of cyberbullying

In HEMAWARE, a digital magazine, author Rita Colorito interviews staff from PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center to share important information for parents. “It’s important for kids to know that they have a right to be safe on their cellphone just like they have a right to be safe in school. It should be a good experience,” Hertzog says.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What makes cyberbullying unique from traditional bullying?

While all bullying is characterized by intentional, often repetitive, hurtful behavior toward another person or group, there are distinguishing elements when it happens online or via smartphone, which include:

  • Persistent. Most students have access to some form of technology at all times, which means cyberbullying can happen any time—in the morning, afternoon, and evening—not just while children are at school. It happens while at home or in the community.
  • Hard to detect. While some bullying is very overt, such as pushing or damaging belongings, cyberbullying happens through phones and on computers or tablets, making it much more difficult for adults to detect.
  • Anonymous. Cyberbullying can be done anonymously. Those being bullied might not even know who is perpetuating the behavior, which makes it easy for one child to hurt another and not be held accountable.
  • Capable of spreading to a much larger audience. Information online can be shared easily and quickly, which makes it difficult to contain or stop negative messages.
  • Easier to be hurtful. It is often easier to bully using technology because of greater physical distance. The person bullying doesn’t see the immediate response from the person being targeted They might not recognize the serious harm caused by their actions because technology distances them from the real-life pain they could be causing.
  • Permanent.* Once something is shared on the internet, it is often available to everyone, everywhere. It can be challenging to completely delete information once it is on the internet.

Note: The one advantage to “permanence” is that online bullying does leave tangible evidence. Unlike physical or emotional bullying, online bullying leaves a digital footprint; the words, images, or videos posted can be documented through screenshots or saving URLs and texts, which can be useful.

How prevalent is cyberbullying?

The Cyberbullying Research Center provides data through a nationally-representative sample of 4,972 middle and high school students between the ages of 12 and 17 in the United States. Data were collected in April of 2019.

At what age does cyberbullying start?

Often, the perception is that cyberbullying only happens on social media platforms, which require individuals to be at least 13 before signing up and using these services, according to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) regulations. However, cyberbullying is an issue that can even impact younger children, as they can be subjected to or participate in inappropriate online behavior as soon as they have access to technology. When kids have access to text messaging, group chats, an email address, or a gaming site, there is the potential for cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying: More Questions Answered by Kids | PACERTalks About Bullying, Episode 16

Age 13 is when teens are typically able to sign up for many social media accounts. But does cyberbullying only start when teens start getting these accounts? In this video we ask kids about this and all things cyberbullying.

What is the most important thing youth can do if they experience cyberbullying?

Encourage all youth that if they experience cyberbullying, they should tell someone. Cyberbullying generally happens in an environment where adults can’t see it; unless the kids involved tell someone, often no adults will know. Also, share with youth that you recognize there may be times when they have difficulty confiding in a parent or adult, but that it’s important that they don’t go through the experience all alone, and for their well-being it’s important to tell someone.

Reasons Why Young People May Not Tell an Adult

They tried and were told just to “ignore it.” A common response to bullying is to “just ignore it,” which is well intentioned but not helpful. It’s hard to ignore negative behavior that is repeatedly directed at you.

They think because it happened through technology, that it’s not bullying. Reinforce that when someone intentionally and repeatedly tries to hurt or harm you, whether it’s in person or online, that is bullying.

They think they should handle it on their own. Some kids see bullying as something they need to fix or that they maybe did something to deserve it.

They’re concerned about contacting the other kid’s parents. Some kids think that an adult’s response will make the situation worse, like calling the other kid’s parent and getting upset with them.

They don’t want their phone taken away. Limiting a child’s use of phones, tablets, or other technology won’t stop the situation. It’s the bullying, not the technology, that needs to stop.

They don’t want anyone to worry. Some kids believe that their parents or other adults in their lives, have enough to deal with and they don’t want to add another problem to handle.

They see the situation as too personal. Some kids get picked on because of something they did, like behaving inappropriately at a party. If they tell an adult about being bullied, then they also have to explain their own actions. That’s not an easy thing to do when you already feel bad about what happened.

What should someone do when they see cyberbullying?

If your child or student sees cyberbullying, encourage them to take action when they feel comfortable. Research shows that peers can be very effective at intervening in a bullying situation. While possible responses include direct confrontation, this can be very challenging for individuals of any age to do. Research shows the more effective response is being supportive of the person being bullied. When someone sees cyberbullying, their response could be to:

  • Write something positive about the person being targeted
  • Contact the person being bullied and let them know they’re not alone
  • Take a screenshot of the bullying and report it to a parent or an adult at school
  • Report the bullying content to the social media platform and ask to have it removed according to the platform’s community guidelines

How do you keep a record of cyberbullying?

An important part of addressing a cyberbullying situation is to document what has happened. Your child or student may want to delete what is being sent so that they don’t have to see it again, but it’s important to NOT immediately delete evidence of bullying, encourage them to first capture the information. Records can provide proof of the cyberbullying to social media providers, school personnel, or law enforcement officials.

  • Adults and youth can work together to save the evidence: take screenshots of inappropriate behavior in emails, text messages, posts, website pages, and photos
  • Print out evidence when necessary
  • Don’t delete anything until you’ve made a copy that includes dates, identity of sender, and other relevant information
  • Make sure to record the date and description of any bullying incidents that are happening in person, as well

What is the role of schools to address cyberbullying?

Every state has a bullying prevention law or policy that helps districts and schools address bullying. Many of these laws and policies require that schools address cyberbullying in their district policy. Some state laws also cover off-campus behavior that creates a hostile school environment. If a child experiences cyberbullying, check the school’s bullying prevention policy to learn more about the role the school can play in helping youth address the issue.

State Law and Policy

  • Cyberbullying can create a disruptive environment at school and is often related to in-person bullying. The school can use the information to help inform prevention and response strategies.
  • In many states, schools are required to address cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policy. Some state laws also cover off-campus behavior that creates a hostile school environment.
  • Source: StopBullying.gov

What is the role of technology providers to address cyberbullying?

Many social media sites have safety pages that provide guidelines for how to address cyberbullying on their site, including:

Parents can also be aware of the safety features offered by wireless and internet service providers that help block or manage cyberbullying. The privacy settings are always evolving, with new family safeguard and parental control features designed to offer customized solutions to cyberbullying.

Do all technology companies provide a method of contact?

The Cyberbullying Research Center provides contact information for social media, apps, and gaming platforms for where to report online abuse.

What can be done to support the emotional and physical well-being of youth experiencing cyberbullying?

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center offers the Student Action Plan Against Bullying, a free, downloadable handout which involves youth in the solution equation, along with a helpful guide for parents and educators. The plan and guide can be used to help your child or student think through their situation, discuss how they think it could be different, and identify the steps needed to make that change happen.

Check Your Knowledge

  1. Why can cyberbullying sometimes be more damaging than traditional bullying?

    1. It can happen at any time of day
    2. It can be anonymous
    3. It can be highly public
    4. All of the above

    Check Answer  

    All of the above. While cyberbullying is still less common than traditional bullying, it can be particularly damaging because it can happen outside of school hours, it can be anonymous, and it is frequently very public with a potentially unlimited audience. At the same time, many parents are not active on the same websites or technology as their children and may not know what they’re experiencing while online or on their phone.

  2. At what age should there be a “cyberbullying conversation” with youth?

    Why can cyberbullying sometimes be more damaging than traditional bullying?

    1. When they start using social media
    2. When they get their first phone
    3. When they start using technology
    4. All of the above

    Check Answer  

    All of the above. Adults should discuss online conduct and behavior, as well as cyberbullying, as soon as youth start using technology in any form. There is potential for cyberbullying whenever children are using technology to interact. It can begin as soon as they have access to a cell phone or computer that they can use to connect to gaming sites, social media, text, direct messaging, or group chats. Have this conversation early in their lives, and return to the conversation as they grow up and their use of technology evolves.

  3. True or False: Cyberbullying only happens on social media.

    Check Answer  

    False: While youth can bully through social media sites, online bullying also happens in gaming, over text, and in online chats. It can happen anywhere youth connect online.

  4. True or False: Schools aren’t required to address cyberbullying that happens outside of school hours.

    Check Answer  

    False: In many states, schools are required to address cyberbullying in their bullying prevention policy. Some state laws also cover off-campus behavior that creates a hostile school environment.

  5. True or False: Any information young people put online or on their phone can be easily shared, copied, and pasted in other places.

    Check Answer  

    True. Talk to youth about their “digital footprint” and the fact that what goes online stays online. Make sure they know that any information they share online—photos, videos, emails, text messages, and more—can be easily shared, copied, and pasted in other places without their knowledge or permission.

  6. True or False: Many social media sites offer some sort of system to report bullying content.

    Check Answer  

    True. You can report any content on most social media sites. Remember to give a clear description of the content. You may also want to take screenshots of any offending posts, photos, or conversations with the person who is bullying you. Some social media reporting tools allow individuals to communicate directly with a person about the content they have posted that you don’t like.

  7. True or False: If youth are being bullied online, they should immediately delete all of the bullying messages and posts.

    Check Answer  

    False. It’s tempting for young people who are being cyberbullied to delete messages and other bullying content sent to them, especially if they are trying to ignore the bullying. But this can be a problem if proof of the cyberbullying to school officials or law enforcement officials is needed later on. If anyone is being cyberbullied online, it’s important to save emails, messages, texts, photos and take screenshots of the bullying content.

  8. True or False: The bullying that happens online is less damaging than traditional bullying.

    Check Answer  

    False. All bullying hurts. With cyberbullying, the damaging can feel more devastating as there is the potential for a larger audience and the content, once online, can be difficult to remove.

  9. True or False: Most cyberbullying happens outside the view of adults.

    Check Answer  

    True. Cyberbullying is often very covert and done in online spaces in that adults do not have access to or are unaware of, which makes it even more important to encourage youth, whether they are bullied or witness bullying, to tell an adult.

  10. True or False: There are additional protections for students of protected classes, including students with disabilities.

    Check Answer  

    True. A student has legal rights when they are part of a protected class and become the target of bullying or cyberbullying. The distinction between bullying and harassment is that when the bullying behavior directed at the target is also based on their status as part of a protected class, that behavior may then also be defined as harassment. Protected classes include race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, and national origin. According to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), online and offline bullying may also be considered harassment when the conduct is sufficiently serious that it interferes with (or limits) a student’s ability to participate in (or benefit from) the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school.