Help Tackling Cyberbullying

In Part I of this post I talked about what has changed–and 6 Things adults need to know about Cyberbullying. In this post I am going to talk about how to handle cyberbullying with kids you know.


1) Teach Your Children What Cyberbullying Is: First go over my original post and then talk about the lingo. Many times kids get involved in cyberbullying incidents and have no idea it goes on with other students and that it is wrong.

Impersonation: Pretending to me someone else online by sending messages, posting material, or contacting other people under another person’s name or image.

Flaming: Online fights using electronic messages such as IM’s, emails, chat comments or posts. They usually include angry and inappropriate language.

Reporting: Sharing someone’s embarassing images, secrets or private information online.

Cyber Harassment: Repeatedly sending or receiving nasty, mean and insulting messages.

Denigration: Insulting someone online by spreading gossip, rumors or posting pictures to damage their feelings, relationships or reputation.

Tricking: Tricking someone into revealing secrets or private info in a undisclosed public forum and/or revealing it other places online.

Exclusionary: Purposefully leaving people out of an online group or forum

Stalking: Repeated following or messaging.

2) Protect Your Child’s Online Reputation by setting up an RSS to their name or reporting threats to the websites they belong to. I will be releasing an ebook in the coming weeks about how to set-up a online reputation defender online.

A child should never be threatened online, they need to be aware of the threats that are flung from friends as well as strangers and they should report anything that makes them feel uncomfortable!

3) Watch Over Their Shoulder Here are some parental control softwares I like and often recommend to the families I mentor. You might want to seriously consider installing these on your home computers. I have picked a good selection below ranging from very invasive to light monitoring.

SpectorSoft This one has lots of different plans to choose from and for all different kinds of computers. I like it because if you are not computer savvy then you can call them anytime. I put this on one of my clients computers and it worked well.

PC Tattletale This one is the most comprehensive one I have ever seen. It really covers everything your child could be doing everything from blocking keywords, to email monitoring, to MySpace monitoring to keystroke records, time usage…

Safe Eyes For PCs and Macs, this has been featured in a lot of media campaigns on Internet Safety.

KidsNet Featured on ABC, this software is very simple and easy to use. They also have some bonus material about how to teach your kids about online safety as well as watching them.

4) Make Sure They Are Not A CyberBully

Bullies: People who actually do the harassing and demean or harm others.

Targets or Victims: Those who receive the insults

Enablers: Those who encourage and support the bullies who are harassing other

Harmful Bystanders: Those who know that bullying is going on, but do nothing about it.

Helpful Bystanders: Those who know bullying is going on and report it.

5) Watch for Signs of Victimization:

I think parents should always watch for changes in their children that might have to do with online relationships.

-depression, anger, sadness that is out of the ordinary

-change of behavior after internet usage

-sudden sharp increase or decrease of internet usage

-avoidance of friends, school, activities or hobbies

-decline in grades

6) Tell Them How to Stop CyberBullies:

Save the evidence, do not retaliate, file a complaint on the website, contact and adult. You can also contact the school or the bully’s parent if you know who it is. In more serious cases you can contact a lawyer or the police and file a report.

17 Responses to “Help Tackling Cyberbullying”

  1. Vicki
    April 22, 2008 at 4:26 am #

    I’m interested in how to RSS a specific name as opposed to a site–to read what’s being written about a person, not set up an RSS folder where feeds are dropped into. I clicked your link and read about RSSing but I didn’t get any info about how to RSS a name. Can you give more info on that?

  2. Vanessa
    April 22, 2008 at 6:47 am #

    To RSS to a person’s name you must create an RSS folder/feed system otherwise there will be no where for the subscription to be delivered to. If you do not want to RSS you can create a Google Alert (type this into google) for the name. This is not as thorough but it is pretty good.

    hope this helps

  3. KenS
    April 22, 2008 at 7:19 am #

    Hey Vanessa,
    I’ve watched and read a few of your blogs. I commend you on being a net generation voice in this issue. In your list of recommended software, would you mind if I add a title? We make PC Pandora… just released version 5.0 and you may find that it is just as comprehensive as Tattletale and better priced than Spector. Not to mention my involvement in trying to be an advocate (in my blog, in the news, on websites, etc.) for online safety and trying to get parents to wake-up and realize it’s a whole new world and their kids are accessing it through the computer. This isn’t your parents’ parenting, this is the 21st century… etc etc… [rant blocked]. Anyway, keep up the good posts. See you around…

  4. Vanessa
    April 22, 2008 at 7:26 am #

    Hi Ken

    Yes, thank you for always commenting, please do add this to the list. I will put it on my recommendations page, because I think you are a great advocate of the positive message behind the product. Thank you for the support!


  5. Amy Strecker
    April 22, 2008 at 7:58 am #

    Great coverage on cyberbullying! I hope parents will reach out and use these tools. It’s a great idea for everyone to at least have a Google Alert set up for their name, so they’ll know what’s out there in connection to their name.

  6. Luke Gilkerson
    April 22, 2008 at 9:01 am #

    Thanks so much for your helpful posts. You’ve got great advice for parents and teens.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts about one of my recent posts about cyberbullying:

  7. Tim
    April 22, 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    There might be another (free) website which parents might find useful:

    Spokeo monitors the (public) content of 22 social networking (myspace, bebo, etc.) and media sites (YouTube, flikr, etc)

    If you know your child’s email address(es), you can just drop it (them) into spokeo, and spokeo will tell you: 1) what social networking sites that email belongs to, 2) what photos and songs they’ve uploaded to flikr, imeem, etc., and even 3) what their “wish list” is!

    This allows parents another way of “looking over the child’s shoulder”–even if the child has access to a friend’s (unmonitored) computer.

    Frankly, spokeo is a pretty scary concept–try it out on your own email address(es) and see what pops up! But the level of information it provides seems perfect for the concerned parent.

    Hope this is a helpful lead.

  8. Vanessa
    April 23, 2008 at 8:22 am #

    Thank you for all of these comments, I am going to check out Spokeo and Lukes article, thanks for reading!


  9. Ron
    April 25, 2008 at 8:10 am #

    Excellent post! Cyberbullying is a big problem that parents need to address.

    Thanks for mentioning Safe Eyes here. A feature that might be of interest…parents can configure Safe Eyes to record IM conversations, so parents can see exactly what’s going on with a bullying incident.

    I just signed up for your ebook list. I’m looking forward to reading that.

    (By the way, coupon code “BLOGGER” will save 10% if you or any of your readers would like to try it out.)


  10. Elena
    January 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Hello! I just started reading all of this, starting with social shield, but I checked out Spokeo for the heck of it and found it to have some quite incorrect info. It was pretty basic, since I didn’t pay for the service, but it had several things that were incorrect about me. Just thought I would post that-it would be a shame to use inaccurate information when checking things out to keep one’s kids safe.

  11. John
    May 25, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    few months ago some of my son Joshua’s friends started bullying him online. They would send him hateful emails and text messages to his phone. After a while, he started to get depressed and didn’t want to go to school. As a result his grades started to drop and he became more and more unhappy. His friends called him “fag” and told him nobody liked him. I only know this because I had to check his email one night when he was sick and needed information on a school project. I was so angry and so sad for my son. He is just such an innocent and sweet 10 year old boy.

    Seeing how the cyberbullying was affecting my son made me worry that he might try to hurt himself (as many victims of cyberbullying have done). When I spoke to Joshua about the emails and texts he had been receiving, he was embarassed and begged me not to get his bullies in trouble (he was worried about being retaliated against for tattling).
    I did however speak with Joshua’s vice principal about the issue and she said her hands were tied since the bullying happened off school grounds. When I explained how the cyberbullying was affecting Joshua’s academic performance and his happiness, she said she would look into the situation. The bullying did not stop and I never heard back from the school (not unusual from what I hear).

    I decided to start monitoring my son’s emails and text messages so I could be aware of what was happening. I looked into many parental control options but was unimpressed by what I found. These services are expensive and are essentially spyware. They force parents to spend hours going through all their child’s emails and texts (I don’t have time for this because I work and I am a single dad). Also, what is the point of having parental control software if the kid continues to receive hurtful messages? For Joshua, getting these hateful emails is devastating to him, whether or not I am aware of them.

    I am wondering if anybody out there knows of a monitoring or filtering service that can prevent bad emails from getting through to my son. Does anybody know of anything like this?



  12. Vanessa Van Petten
    May 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    I am so sorry to hear this! I think possible Social Shield might do it…if they don’t try asking them if they know a service that does.



  13. Brenda
    May 26, 2011 at 9:05 am #


    The product you need is called Mousemail and is offered for FREE from SafeCommunications inc. It is by far the best email and text filtering service available and offers one of a kind protection. Mousemail filters a child’s incoming and outgoing emails and text messages for inappropriate content. Any messages that are flagged for harmful content (as the emails sent to yor son Joshua would have been) are diverted to the parent for review and approval BEFORE they reach the child. Parents can decide whether or not to allow their child to see the flagged message(s).

    So John, if you signed up for Mousemail and Joshua continued to be cyberbullied through his email, only you would see the harmful emails, not Joshua. So Mousemail keeps you aware of the hateful emails but protects Joshua from the pain of cyberbullying because he never has to see those emails if you don’t want him too! I would strongly recommend this product to you. It works great for me and is totally free. Here is a link to the website:

    Best of luck to you and your son!


  14. Steve
    May 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    Mousemail is an amazing product!! Anyone with young kids should be using it! Here is why it is so unique: Like its competitors, it keeps parents informed of harmful interactions in cyberspace. However, it also protects children from the harmful effects of those interactions. by intercepting inappropriate emails and texts and diverting them to parents, kids do not see them and never have to deal with the pain they can inflict.

    This is a very special product and it is totally free! I bet they could make a lot of money with it if it wasn’t free though!


  15. Joe
    June 1, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    I am so excited that people have been talking about Mousemail here! It truly is the best email and text message monitoring service available today (and it’s free)! It provides a safe and secure online environment for children (there are many games and other child friendly activities to choose from).

    What is best about Mousemail however, is it’s ability to intercept inappropriate incoming/outgoing emails and text messages, sending them to parents before they reach the children. So if a child is sent an email or text with harmful content, it goes to the parent for review, so the child cannot see it unless the parent decides that they can.
    Also, if anybody posts something inappropriate on a child’s facebook page, the email notification of the post will also be diverted and sent to the parent, not the child. This way, the parent can take apropriate action.

    Vanessa, I saw that you include certain products in your recommendationds section. Would you be willing to include Mousemail in that list? It is a product that really helps families in ther digital age. Furthermore, the parent company, Safe communications inc. is dedicated to protecting our children. Check it out!




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