Linda Criddle was interviewed for the article Your child and cyberbullies
published this week in Baltimore’s Child.
Here’s an excerpt:
“The schoolyard bully that kids once faced at recess for 20 minutes a day seems tame compared with the online bully who can harass a victim 24 hours a day,” notes Linda Criddle, a Seattle-area Internet safety expert and founder of the website ilookbothways.com, which provides information on Internet safety, security, privacy, and ethics.
Following are among the tips Criddle offers on her website to protect against cyberbullying.
- Encourage your child not to share personal information (such as an address or phone number), feelings, or photos online.
- Encourage your child to tell you if he or she is being bullied—and stress the importance of not bullying others. Also, keep in mind that a bullied student who thinks his or her parent will take away his or her cell phone or ban Internet use might avoid revealing a problem.
- If your child is being bullied, address the situation immediately. Do not respond directly to the bully, but do save any applicable messages should you need to provide evidence to law enforcement.
- Report bullying to the service whose tools were used to do the bullying—such as the Internet service provider, social networking site, chat room, and/or email platform—and block contact from that person (or people). Reputable web services have clear instructions for reporting abusive or inappropriate content.
- If you feel your child is at risk physically, call local law enforcement immediately. If the bully is attending your child’s school, inform the school.
- If you know who’s bullying your child, determine whether or not speaking to the parents would be a good idea. Be cautious and make your first contact in writing so as to document what you know.
Assess what help your child may need, including counseling services. Also, make clear to your child that it is the bully who is at fault—not your child.