When your child is a cyberbully

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When your child is a cyberbully

If you discover that your child has been part of a cyber bullying incident, as a bully, it's critically important that they understand, and have consequences for their behavior. This is important because kids have to learn from their mistakes. They have to grow from them. It's also important because it's wrong, online or off, to be cruel, mean, or disrespectful to another person. Consequences should range from moderate to severe. Laws vary state to state depending on where you live. your child is charged with cyber bullying, they could be charged with a misdemeanor, suspended or expelled from school, and in severe cases, they can be charged with a felony. The first thing that your child needs to do is immediately go apologize to the person they had been a bully to. They also need to go to that child's parent and apologize so that parent knows that your child is taking personal responsibility for their actions. You also need to know from your child if there was another child involved, also bullying. If there has been, it's your obligation as a parent to go tell that other parent, so they can take the appropriate actions. Mom or dad, it might be a good time, if you don't have a technology contract or agreement in place for your child, now is the time to have one. It's really important for kids to understand that your expectations are that they are going to use technology responsibly. Having technology is a privilege, not a right, and as a result, they need to be responsible for actions. Ultimately, you as a parent, when you hand your child that digital technology, you are responsible for your child's actions. It's also a great time to remind your kids that it's never, ever okay to be disrespectful or unkind to another. Frankly, when they use technology, they are responsible for being a good digital citizen. I tell parents that it's important to remind their kids, that this is a learning opportunity. The next time they see something go wrong, they should step up and be an upstander. If you are a little concerned that if your child will follow the rules, there are also monitoring software that can send you an alert to any type of questionable behavior.

Watch Mary Kay Hoal's video on When your child is a cyberbully...


Expert Bio

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Mary Kay Hoal

Family Internet Safety Expert

Mary Kay Hoal is a nationally recognized expert on children’s online safety. She is the founder and president of Yoursphere Media Inc., which focuses on the family and publishes the kids’ social network Yoursphere.com. Mary Kay also offers parents Internet-safety information and tips at YoursphereForParents.com. She has been profiled on CNN, Fox & Friends, FOX Business, E!, Lifetime TV, ABC News Now, and The Reader's Digest. Mary Kay is also part of the "Web Avenger" team for ABC's 20/20.

In 2012, Mary Kay founded The Yoursphere Media Foundation and Coalition for Internet Safety Education and Reform (FCISER), which is dedicated to creating a network of community educators that provide children, their parents, schools and communities, with the necessary skills, knowledge and tools they need to have a positive and safer digital experience.

Mary Kay has also been published on sites such as DrLaura.com, Yahoo! Shine and ABC News where she's able to reach millions of parents. 


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