It is the new age of cyberbullying and no one is immune from it. With its hallmark of anonymity, anyone, anywhere, at anytime has the ability to insult, humiliate, embarrass, and frustrate us without retribution. Because of the technological advances of electronic communication devices, this has become a rapidly growing trend. Kids and adults can use text messaging, social networking sites, and video to post humiliating content about another person, and depending on what it is, or how it is presented, it can go viral literally overnight. The effects from this form of bullying can have devastating consequences for the victim of such abuse. There has been a media swarm surrounding this issue lately due to the suicidal death of a college student. The student's privacy had been violated by another student using a webcam. He had been unknowingly taped while engaged in a sex act with a friend. Allegation have risen that these images have been transmitted to others, and that a post on a twitter feed supplied the link to these images. After this incident came out, the college freshman took his life by jumping off the George Washington bridge. This follows in the wake of a case in Massachusetts where a 14 year old girl, who had endured relentless cyberbullying, also committed suicide. Because of the recent deaths of these individuals, new laws are being created to protect others from this new trend.

How can you tell if your child, or teen is a victim of this abuse? If someone you know seems to appear preoccupied and depressed after surfing on the net, receiving a phone call, or getting a text message. Do they appear to get upset after receiving instant messaging and emails? They may suddenly shy away from using these devices They may also become defensive when questioned about their attitude. They may also become apprehensive about attending school, and become withdrawn from those around them. This is a sign that something is wrong and cyberbullying may be the culprit. You should engage your child in a discussion about this very important topic before it gets out of hand.

How do you detect if your child is instigating or participating in cyberbullying? Does you child minimize or tend to close out a page on the computer when you walk by? Are you catching them at inappropriate times on the net or using their cell phones? Do they appear agitated if their privileges to these devices become restricted? If they become defensive about their activities on the cell phone or internet, then you should find out why they seem surrounded by so much secrecy and attitude. Everyone deserves privacy and respect, and that includes your teen. However, there comes a time, when for no good reason, they feel the need to hide something that would usually go unnoticed by most, that these instances deserve investigated. Rest assured that they are probably doing something that they are not supposed to be doing. They could be viewing porn, talking in inappropriate chat rooms, or yes, they could be participating in cyberbullying. This is the time to start questioning their behavior?

Well how can you tell if someone is lying to you? It is very difficult to know where your kids may be surfing, however, there are tracking software products on the market that can make this task easier. You should also actively inspect where your kids have been surfing by walking by the screen and visually looking, or checking the surfing history itself. Make your children fully aware of what you expect from them when they use their cell phones and the computer, and that misuse will constitute a loss of privileges from these devices. Cyberbullying, a social disaster, needs to be discussed with your kids. They need to understand the affect that they can have on others when they partake in this activity. There are consequences that they will endure for their actions. As parents you must make it clear that such activity will not be tolerated, and that their moral responsibility and mutual respect is imperative while using these devices.