Cyber Bullying - What Parents Really Need To Know:

As children and teenagers become immersed in the virtual world of the vast ocean of online entertainment sound on Internet, the anonymity offered can be seductive and abused.

The Internet offers a wide open platform for social interaction, dating, and personal expressions such as blog's, web pages, photo albums and self-published online video.

It is truly a universal communication medium that connects millions of people. Unfortunately this connection is not always a positive one. Many individuals both young and old alike have taken bullying out of the playground and onto the net

Cyber bullying takes many different forms and can range from:

• Abusive, harassing messages

• Doctoring pornographic material

• Posting pictures in a derogatory manner

• Hacking into accounts and sending false messages in the subjects name

• Posting embarrassing personal information on public sites or blog's

• Posting rumors or harmful untrue statements defaming the subject

Cyber stalking

• Intimidation

• Exclusion

Cyber Bullying and its psychological effects on the victim are very serious and long-lasting. And as a result, cyber bullying is now a major concern for parents and teachers alike.

The social consequences are enormous and as devastating as is physical schoolyard bullying if not more so because it's not limited to just the schoolyard.

What a child is bullied at school only those children in the "community" that makes up that child's school or grade level are witness to the bullying. As a result the psychological embarrassment is limited to only those few dozen or hundred students.

However the psychological devastation felt by the victim of cyber bullying does not know of such limits. In fact, the "community" that witnesses the cyber bullying can consist of thousands and thousands of people, thereby compounding the victims social embarrassment as well as the psychological damage that these cyber bullying attacks can cause.

Cyber bullying is most common among teens but is important that this sort of behavior is monitored in pre teens as well. The victim may know the bully or they may be an online acquaintance, cyber bullies are often anonymous.

The two major characteristics of cyber bullying include threats of violence and overt sexual behavior.

The role of parents in the prevention of cyber bullying is ensuring your own children are not being harassed online and making sure that they are not participating in these behaviors.

Some of the typical activities of cyber bullies may seem like harmless fun to some children who don’t fully understand the implications of their behavior.

The following offers a guide for parents on how to deal with the threat of cyber bullying and educate your children to be active in the prevention.

Talk to your children:

Discuss your concerns with your children and address the issues together. Talk to them about the dangers of cyber bullying and develop strategies if they ever encounter it while online.

Emphasize how important privacy is on the net and discourage them strongly against giving out personal information or photos.

Know the Language:

Children and teens have their own lingo when it comes to the Internet. These terms and acronyms can be confusing; that is more than likely the point.

Most teen web users communicate using shorthand. These can be perfectly innocent and you may have nothing to worry about with your own children.

However there are also thousands of acronyms that relate to drugs and sex that have been developed to sneak under the Parental radar. You would be wise to get the run down on what your children are discussing online.

For a comprehensive database of these teen acronyms download the teen chat decoder freeware here: http://www.teenchatdecoder.com

Get involved to stop the cyber bully:

Parents are too often left out of the loop because they are either net illiterate or they are too busy to monitor their children’s Internet time. This is a huge mistake and the consequences can be fatal.

If you cannot monitor your children while they are online then you need to have some kind of Parental control monitoring software, like PC Tattletale

This program will let you know exactly what your children are up to online. They can record IMs, chat room conversations, web sites visited and filter inappropriate material.