For Parents

What is cyberbullying?

According to the US-Cert, cyberbullying is about using technology to harass or bully someone else. You might think bullying has to be physical intimidation or harassment by postal mail or phone. But some people use computers, cell phones, and PDAs to abuse others through email, instant messaging, web pages, and digital photos.

Cyberbullying can take on many forms. Often, cyberbullies will adopt more than one tactic to harass a child. Some real life examples are:

  • A website which places votes for the ugliest, fattest, or most unpopular child.
  • Hacking into a child's account or computer, stealing personal information, and posting it online.
  • A hateful message or death threat sent over email or on a social networking site.
  • The unsolicited distribution of thousands of text messages to a child's cell phone to run up the monthly wireless bill.
  • Peer pressuring friends to reveal personal passwords

Why you should be concerned:

Cyberbullying may seem humorous at first, but it can have serious long-term effects - for the person being picked on as well as the person doing the harassment. It's important to teach children that the Internet is not anonymous and everything posted online leaves a permanent digital footprint, traceable by law enforcement, educational institutions and future employers.

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, 43% of teens were victims of cyberbullying in 2010. But only 11% of teens reported the incidents to their parents.

How Comcast can help:

Comcast offers the latest technology and education to help parents prevent and respond to cyberbullying:

  • Keep the computer in a public place and supervise your child's activity
  • Instruct your child to avoid posting personal information online. Print out Comcast's top 10 online safety checklist and keep it handy for quick reference.
  • Inquire about and try to visit your child's online communities and discuss the values demonstrated by those who participate.
  • If your child is using social networks or a smartphone, consider adding Family Sense® to your Constant Guard® Protection Suite – it is free to try.
  • Educate your child on cyberbullying and teach them to back away if they are targeted and to save the evidence (e.g., emails, web logs, etc). This may help law enforcement or Comcast with investigating the matter.
  • If your child is in danger, report the issue to law enforcement right away. Learn how to report online safety issues.