Monday, April 29, 2013

Cyberbullying: Screenshot the Evidence and Don't Block the Bully

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets are here to stay and while they are a great way of communicating to friends and the masses, they can be a bullies perfect medium to harass, intimidate, stalk and destroy a victims  life. 

  So as a parent educate your child what to do when they are being cyber bullied.   The first reaction is to delete the harmful words or pictures.  You may think by doing so the, "cyberbullying" will go away.  Not true.  The bully may stop posting on their targets site, however that does not preclude them from posting on the targets friends' sites, especially if the target and bully have friends in common.  I have one word, "Screenshot." Don't delete the evidence.  Take a screenshot of the evidence, whatever it may be.  Once you take the screen shot save it to a file off the computer.  Computers  are susceptible to all sorts of viruses which can lead to the destruction or disappearance of the evidence.  My suggestion is transfer the screenshots to a USB or CD.  You can burn copies if need to be, in case law enforcement opens an investigation.

Don't block the perpetrator.  Of course it would make sense to get rid of the culprit.  However the culprit does not go away because you block them.  Bullies don't go away that easy.  They will find their victims or the victims friends, social media accounts and will continue to carry out their tasks.  Blocking also prevents the parent from monitoring the bullies next step.  The last thing you want to be is in the dark if they are bullying your child.  It also gives you the parent an idea of the danger your child may be in.  Monitor, screenshot, save, file and print.  Save as much information as you can.  Notify law enforcement if the bullying becomes dangerous or reaches criminal behavior.  Look to your state's laws to ensure that the bully is not breaking any laws.  Notify the school.  Many times bullies and their allies are posting things on face book from their cell phones while in school.  Schools are now responsible for r acts of cyber bullying if it occurs during school hours and or functions.  Again the cyber bullying laws are changing so look to your state law.  The key is to be proactive.  Protect  your child.

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