You asked

What is cyber bullying and how do I deal with it?

Cyber bullying occurs when technology is used to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another child or young person. Sometimes cyber bullying can be easy to identify-for instance, if your child shows you a text message or status update that is harsh, mean, or cruel. Other acts of bullying are less easy to spot such as when someone impersonates the intended victim online with the purpose of posting personal information designed to hurt, ridicule or embarrass.

Some kids report that a fake account has been set up with the sole purpose to harass and bully. Cyber bullying can also can happen accidentally. Also, what is funny to one person could be hurtful and insulting to another. However, repeated incidents are rarely accidental.

One in ten kids experience cyber bullying and that number is set to increase. What can parents do to put an end to or prevent cyber bullying altogether? With the huge increase in social networking happening online, its understandable how there has been an increase in cyber-bullying instances. However, it should never be considered acceptable and should never be tolerated.

It’s important for parents to realise that cyber bullying is just as traumatic and unacceptable as any form of bullying and it is an area where parents must exercise vigilance.

The following are some useful tips that parents can use to help deal with cyber bullying:

Be aware of information and communication technologies and know which sites your child is visiting. Make sure they know what sites they have permission to visit. 

Provide an environment in which your child feels comfortable opening up you. Make sure they know that they can speak to you if anybody should threaten or upset them online. Remember to react in a calm manner otherwise they won’t come to you in times of need.

Keep an eye out for signs that your child could be being bullied online, including if you notice a reluctance to use the computer or not wanting to go to school.

If your child is being bullied by a student at the same school, then you will need to meet with a teacher or principal and ask for help in resolving the issue. Talk to your child about how to use their computer and mobile phones responsibly. Ensure they know never to post anything thatthey wouldn’t be comfortable with everyone knowing .Keep an eye on your child's computer use and have their log-ins.

More questions

It's important to speak to your child about bullying to help them understand what behaviour is and isn't acceptable.
Recently, there has been an increase in the amount of children being sent abusive text messages.
There are many ways that you can help your child make friends at school. 
It's an unfortunate fact of life but kids do tease each other. It's important to teach your child how to deal with being teased. 
Children who bully want to exert control over their lives-even if it's just making someone else's life miserable.
This can be a difficult realisation to come to but there are some signs to watch out for which could indicate that your child is a bully. 
Parents often fear that if they report that their child is being bullied to the school that nothing will be done.
Your child's school should have a very clear policy on how to deal with bullying.
In recent times, cyber bullying has become all too common. 
There are lots of things that you as a parent can do to help prevent and reduce the chances of your child being bullied.

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