At TheAmerican School of Protocol® , we are constantly asked by parents how to handle "cyber" bullying. With the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, parents need to be on the alert now more than ever on what their child is viewing and how they are interacting online. The following tips came from a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
- Monitor social networks. If your child has received cruel or harassing comments on Facebook or MySpace, go to that person’s profile and click “Report/Block this Person” or “Remove from Friends.”
- Block mean messages. Email services and social sites have established codes of conduct that forbid harassment or intimidation and have established a way to report such behavior immediately. To block bullies from emailing your child further, you can use the “Options” or “More Actions” tabs to block senders or delete future messages by simply adding the bully’s email address to a “block list”.
- Parental Control Software. Parents can monitor their child’s use of social network sites, viewing chat lists and instant message conversations. SafetyWeb, SocialShield, and Norton Online Family are a few recommended services that charge a minimal fee.
- Call the authorities. Print screenshots of Web pages and copies of email messages, instant messages and texts. This evidence is critical for the police and court system to proceed further.