As we discussed earlier this week, reporting and resolving a cyberbullying incident will vary depending on the evolution of your community’s awareness and understanding of the issue. However, this list provides first steps to help stop cyberbullying online if you see it.
- Save the evidence. Print copies of messages and websites. Use the save feature on instant messages and take screen shots of posts or comments on social networks.
- First offense (if minor in nature): Ignore, delete, or block the sender. Instant message programs, email, social networking sites, and cell phones usually have blocking features.
- If a fake or offensive profile targeting your child is set up on a social networking site, report it to the site. Go to the site’s Help Center for details.
- Make sure to copy the link (the website address) to the site for reporting purposes.
- Investigate your child’s online presence. Set up an alert on Google, or search your child’s name occasionally through a variety of search engines.
- If the perpetrator is another student, share evidence with the school counselor.
- Report the cyberbullying to the police or cyber crime unit in your area if the cyberbullying contains threats, intimidation or sexual exploitation.
- Check to see if any additional bullying may be occurring at school.
- If a perpetrator is known, and cyberbullying is continuing, or severe, contact the perpetrator’s parents and share your evidence. Ask that the cyberbullying stop and that any posted material be removed immediately.
- If the parent of the perpetrator is unresponsive and behavior continues, parent of the target may contact an attorney or send a certified letter outlining possible civil/legal options if the behavior does not stop or material is not removed.
- If your child expresses emotional distress or thoughts of self-harm seek help immediately.
(List source: Cyberbullying: Bullying in the Digital Age. Malden, MA. Blackwell Publishers and www.cyberbullyhelp.com)