School is back in session and even though cyberbullying can happen year-round, a lot of it can originate in school.  It's a great time to talk about it with kids and help prevent it together.

The Federal Trade Commission has some great resources to help families with cyberbullying, which is real and can lead to real tragic results.

The FTC says that the key to preventing cyberbullying is to make sure kids are aware of what it is and how to stop it.  For example, parents need to ask their kids to let them know if an online message or image makes them feel threatened or hurt.  Parents are also encouraged to inspect their kids social media interactions, including reading the comments to look for warning signs.  If you fear for your child's safety, contact the police.

If a cyberbully enters the life of your family, here are the recommended steps to push them back out:

  • Don't react to the bully:  If your child is targeted by a cyberbully, keep a cool head. Remind your child that most people realize bullying is wrong. Tell your child not to respond in kind. Instead, encourage him or her to work with you to save the evidence and talk to you about it. If the bullying persists, share the record with school officials or local law enforcement.
  • Protect your child’s profile:  If your child finds a profile that was created or altered without his or her permission, contact the site to have it taken down.
  • Block or delete the bully:  If the bullying involves instant messaging or another online service that requires a "friend" or "buddy" list, delete the bully from the lists or block their user name or email address.

Most cyberbullying stops when the bully is confronted by their peers, who choose to stand up for the victim.  Educating kids about this crucial, as are proactive parents dedicated to stop cyberbullying in its tracks.

The FTC also recommends watching the video below with your kids as a way to initiate a discussion.

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