The first step is to recognize that there might be a bullying situation taking place. The signs that a child is being bullied online are pretty much the same as those that you would notice if he or she was being bullied offline. If your child falls into some of the behavior patterns below, consider the possibility that they are involved in a cyberbullying situation.
* having trouble sleeping
* feeling depressed
* mood swings
* feeling unwell
* becoming anti-social and losing friends
* falling behind in homework
* spending a lot of time online
* Use web sites that translate the lingo your child is sending or receiving so that you can understand the words that are being used in e-mails and chat rooms. See our entry on Intenet Lingo for some guidance.
* If your child continues to receive harassing e-mails, have your child delete his/her current e-mail account and open a new one. This new e-mail address should only be given to a few trusted people.
* If your child is receiving harassing messages through instant messaging, help your child make use of the "block" or "ban" feature. This feature can be used to block certain individuals from being able to reach your child over instant messaging.
* If you have found that a cyberbully has set up a web site that is defaming or mocking your child, contact your ISP and, if necessary, also inform law enforcement to try to get that web site removed.
* Get your child's school involved. Learn what the school's policy on cyberbullying is, and urge the administrators to take a stance against all forms of bullying.