For parents, knowing how to deal with bullying (in any form) isn’t as simple as reading a “How-To” pamphlet. All instances of bullying are different and can be handled in different ways. Sometimes it’s as easy as talking to the parent of the other child, or presenting the problem to school administration; but as I’ve highlighted before, with the somewhat-recent emergence of cyberbullying, knowing what to do in these situations is getting more and more complicated.
Because this of complication, there are blogs like mine, blogs that provide some guidance for parents when their child is bullied over social networks, e-mail or text messages.
The Courant, a newspaper out of Connecticut, offers a similar service on their website, a place where parents can go and ‘Ask Amy’ what they should do about cyberbullying as it pertains to them. Recently, a disgruntled mother asked for advice on how she should deal with Facebook cyberbullying. Her frustration with the bullying, and the fact that the school refrains from getting involved in external issues, led her to wanting to take matters into her own hands and confront the bullies to let them know that what they were doing was wrong.
The advice she received back was that she should hold off on confrontation with the bullies or their parents and instead collect evidence of the bullying. This way, if the bullying gets too out of hand and confrontation (with the right people) becomes necessary, you’ll have the evidence to back up your case. Good advice if you ask me.
With that said, there are several ways to collect evidence of cyberbullying—some better than others. I have written a couple of blogs that show you some of the most reliable ways of doing so. One of these blogs was directed towards a Facebook friend of mine who had a similar problem with cyberbullying. I recommended a great recording tool called Jing. Jing is a free and easy-to-use software application that allows you to not only screen capture but video capture the cyberbullying as it happens. Nevertheless, Jing is only one of the great ways to record any instance of cyberbullying, for more information check out these two cyberbullying blogs:
Through these blogs I’ve received some very useful feedback from readers in the past. One of my LinkedIn contacts, Meredith Freeman, provided me with some great tips on how to record and deal with cyberbullying. Here’s what she had to say:
If you are not actually around to witness the cyberbullying, or you have suspicions of inappropriate behavior, there are a couple of more ways to find out after the fact:
1. Web browsers keep a history of sites, addresses, and files. You can find out what web sites have been visited with the following:
For Internet Explorer 8 -
Tools–>Internet Options–>Tab: General–>Browsing History–>Settings–>View Files
(you may want to go to Menu: View–>Details; and make the window full screen)
2. In addition, a browsers history list will tell you which web sites have been visited.
For Internet Explorer 8 -
View–>Explorer Bars–>History–>(whatever timeframe you pick)
(All assuming that neither of these options have been set to auto delete when browsing session is finished. The setting/s that turns these on/off are (Tools–>Internet Options–>Tab: General–>Browsing History–>uncheck “Delete Browsing…”) and (Tools–>Internet Options–>Tab: General–>Browsing History–>Delete–>uncheck all–>OK).
Look at them regularly. If they go back on again, and NOT from a recent software update, then you have things to discuss with the other computer user/s in the house).
3. Most chat programs will have the ability to record (typed) conversations, and sometimes video. This is not normally turned on by default, so search for a setting in the actual program that activates these features. Be aware that video can fill up hard drive space fairly quickly, so keep an eye on it, or the machine will start misbehaving.
4. Typical web cam software will write a file for uploading/viewing later, so find out where the webcam video (taken with YOUR computer’s cam) lives on the hard drive. Windows Explorer (the index program for your entire computer) is your friend.
5. Insist that you are a ‘friend’ on Facebook and other social networking sites. Have a different persona if your tween/teen jacks up about it; but being looked out for beats the consequences. If you go with another log-in, your identity should only be known to you and your charge/s, and only divulged with their permission or act.
6. Guardians should moderate blog post responses.
Thanks for the great advice Meredith! If anyone else has their own useful ways of dealing with this issue, please share by commenting on this post.