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Facebook and Cyberbullying

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In the world of social media and online networking, the issue of safety continuously arises, particularly among teenagers.  Cyberbullying, bullying that takes place using electronic technology, has unique challenges when compared to more traditional forms of bullying.

Parents need to be aware of what their teens are doing online and talk with them about cyberbullying and other online issues regularly.  Initiate open conversation early on to reduce the teen’s fear of losing their electronic communication privileges when they disclose cyberbullying instances.

When using a site such as Facebook, parents need to discuss how their teen uses the site and with whom they share their posts. Is the teen communicating privately or publicly?  Have they witnessed or been part of any form of online bullying?  Facebook has tips and tools for individuals being bullied, harassed or attacked online.

Teens can:

  • Unfriend - Only your Facebook friends can contact you through Facebook chat or post messages on your timeline.
  • Block - This will prevent the person from starting chats and messages with you, adding you as a friend and viewing things you share on your timeline.
  • Report the person or any abusive things they post.

The best protection against bullying is to learn what cyberbullying is, how to recognize it and how to stop it.  Here are some tips about what you should — and shouldn’t — do:

  • Don’t respond. Typically, children who bully want to get a response — don’t give them one.
  • Don’t keep it a secret. Use Facebook's Social Reporting tool to send a copy of the abusive content to someone you trust who can help you deal with the bullying.  This will also generate a report to Facebook.
  • Document and save. If the attacks persist, you may need to report the activity to an internet service provider and they will want to see the messages.

For more information, tools and resources around safety, please visit Facebook's Family Safety Center and Stopbullying.gov’s Cyberbullying section.