Did you know that one out of three teenagers and one out of six preteens are victims of cyber bullying? It is becoming a serious concern for parents, schools and law enforcement officials.
A recent survey conducted for "Fight Crime: Invest In Kids" -- a national, non-profit, bipartisan organization of more than 3,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and crime survivors, shows one-third of all teens (12-17) and one-sixth of children ages 6-11 have had mean, threatening or embarrassing things said about them online.
Officials estimate that more than 13 million children, including half a million in Illinois were victims of cyber bullying. What's even more troubling is that more than 2 million of those victims nationwide told no one about being attacked.
Some key findings of the poll of 1,000 kids nationwide were:
Following are some suggestions by 'Fight Crime: Invest In Kids' on preventing and stopping cyber bullying:
Ten Steps for Families to Stop Cyber Bullying:
1. Kids should tell an adult if they have been cyber bullied or know other kids who have been cyber bullied. They should report to their parents, a teacher or the police any messages or postings that are mean, embarrassing or threatening to themselves or other students.
2. Parents should insist that every school in America has a proven anti-bullying program so that students feel safe in their schools and know whom to talk to in the event they feel threatened. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program effectively addresses cyber bullying and other forms of bullying. Parents should also tell their members of Congress to support the Bullying Prevention Bill that would help states establish anti-bullying programs.
3. Parents should insist that all schools establish a relationship with local law enforcement agencies so that they can help school officials curb cyber bullying, including informing students that Internet and other electronic communication can be traced.
4. Parents should look for signs that their child might be a victim of cyber bullying, including having nightmares, avoiding school, acting sad or withdrawn, or suddenly showing disinterest in computers or rapidly switching screens.
5. Parents should discuss cyber bullying and bullying with their kids, encourage their kids to tell them if they have been bullied and let them know it is wrong to do it themselves. Parents should also discuss with their kids what kinds of Internet activities the kids enjoy.
6. Parents should keep computers used by children in common areas of the home.
7. Emails, chats, text messages including instant messages and web pages sent or posted by bullies should be saved as evidence.
8. Parents should instruct their kids: one, don't respond to bullying messages; two, if the messages continue, take a break and then reply strongly telling the sender to stop; three, block or filter all further messages; four, if necessary, change their email address, account, username or phone number.
9. Kids should not give out ANY private information such as full names, addresses, phone numbers, personal identification numbers, passwords, school names or names of family members or friends. Kids should not say anything in a chat room or post anything to a web site that they would not want to be made public. Kids should use a screen name different from their email address.
For more information: