School Your Children in Dealing with Cyberbullies

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Just when you thought it was safe for your child to go into cyberspace. It's bad enough that children have to deal with being pushed around face to face in school, but apparently the intimidation doesn't stop there. A growing trend of cyberbullying has parents, students, education professionals and lawmakers concerned -- and with good reason. The Internet, cell phones and other technologies are breeding grounds for harassment of kids, and oftentimes the attacks are done anonymously so the perpetrators and nameless and faceless. As cowardly as it may seem, it's a reality for many children.

In one study, at least 18 percent of kids in middle school reported to being cyberbullied at least once in the past two months. Cyberbullying is defined as when a child, preteen or teen is threatened, harassed, humiliated or embarrassed by somebody else under the age of 18 using the Web, mobile phones or other digital technologies. If an adult is involved, it then becomes cyberstalking or cyber-harassment. Cyberbullying isn't an issue to be taken lightly. It's so serious that children have even committed suicide after being trashed on the Internet, social networking sites or via instant message. Cyberbullying acts include spreading lies and rumors about victims, sending or forwarding mean messages, posting pictures of the victim without their permission or pretending to be someone else to trick the victim.