Tis The Season for CyberBullying

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 8:26am

Tech expert warns parents to be vigilant as children return to school.

Bullying is an age-old problem on the school yard, but now cyber-bullies are following kids into places that used to be safe havens.

Many parents may not be aware of attacks happening at home.

"One of the big problems is parents didn't grow up with this because it wasn't there then," explains psychiatrist Dr. Heywood Zeidman.

With computers and cell phones a child can be bullied anywhere.

When a nasty rumor, picture or video makes the rounds on a social networking site, the psychological impact on kids can be devastating.

Effects can range from low self-esteem, missing class, dropping out of school or worse.

Psychiatrist Dr. Zeidman says parents need to pay attention, talk with their kids and be sympathetic.

The first thing to do with a hurtful text or email is delete it.

"Do not respond back," Dr. Zeidman says. "Bullies like nothing better than somebody who fights back because then they think, 'Ah ha! I've got em, they're really upset.' Leave it alone."

In many cases you can block cyber-attacks electronically.

Victims often know the bully, and Dr. Zeidman says if parents are having trouble dealing with the problem they should report it to their child's school.

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