All the advice I think is great, but I especially like the tips for older teens. When I was in high school (aka, the age that I "knew everything"), I may have hesitant to ask my parents advice. Being reminded by my parents that it was still OK to ask advice helped me.
Parent tips for elementary school kids
- -- Give them a code of conduct. Tell them that if they wouldn't say something to someone's face, they shouldn't text it, IM it, or post it.
- -- Ask your kids if they know someone who has been cyberbullied. Sometimes they will open up about others' pain before admitting their own.
- -- Keep online socializing to a minimum. Let them use sites like Webkinz or Club Penguin where chat is pre-scripted or pre-screened.
- -- Explain the basics of correct cyber behavior. Tell your kids that things like lying, telling secrets, and being mean still hurt in cyberspace.
- -- Tell kids not to share passwords with their friends.
Parent tips for middle school kids
Parent tips for high school kids
- -- Monitor their use. See what they're posting, check their mobile messages.
- -- Tell your kids what to do if they're harassed. They shouldn't respond or retaliate, they should block bullies immediately, and they should tell you or an adult they trust. They shouldn't delete the messages because in persistent cases, the content should be reported to a cell or Internet Service Provider.
- -- If your kid is doing the bullying, establish strict consequences and stick to them. That goes for mean or sexual comments about teachers, friends, and relatives.
- -- Remind them that all private information can be made public. Posts on friends' walls, private IMs, intimate photos, little in-jokes can all be cut, pasted, and sent around. If they don't want the world to see it, they better not post or send it.
- -- Don't start what you don't want to finish. Game chat can get ugly fast. Make sure your kids are respectful because hurtful retaliation happens all the time.
- -- Tell kids to think before they reveal. At this age, kids experiment with all sorts of activities, many of which should not be made public. Remind your teens that anything they post can be misused by someone else.
- -- Remind them they aren't too old to ask for your help. There are things some kids can handle on their own, but sometimes, they just need help. Coming to their parents isn't baby-ish, it's safe.
What other advice would you give to parents regarding cyberbullying?