Online Safety

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. It can happen via text message and within apps, on social media, forums, and gaming sites. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can also include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation.

The WCSD Code of Conduct Cyber-bullying/Cyber-Stalking definition is as follows:

Cyber-bullying is defined as Bullying or harassment of any student through the use of data or computer software that is accessed through a computer, computer system, or computer network to systematically and chronically inflict physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students using any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, verbal, or physical conduct directed against a student or school employee - all in accordance with “Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act”. Cyber-stalking is defined as an engagement in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.

Signs that a child may be a victim of cyberbullying include:

  • Avoiding the computer, cellphone, and other technological devices or appears stressed when receiving an e-mail, instant message, or text

  • Withdrawing from family and friends or acting reluctant to attend school and social events

  • Avoiding conversations about computer use

  • Exhibiting signs of low self-esteem including depression and/or fear

  • Has declining grades

  • Has poor eating or sleeping habits

What can parents do to stop cyberbullying?

  • Save all evidence of the cyberbullying.

  • Try to identify the cyberbully.

  • Send one clear message stating “Do not communicate with me again or I will contact the appropriate authorities.

  • Contact the ISP (internet service provider), forward messages and request the account be terminated

  • Notify the website and request removal of inappropriate material.

  • Contact the phone company if bullying is happening through a cell phone.

  • Contact the police if severe.

  • Discuss bullying and cyberbullying with your children.

  • Emphasize the importance of speaking out against cyberbullying and reporting it to an adult.

Be Aware of What Your Kids are Doing Online

  • Talk with your kids about cyberbullying and other online issues regularly.

  • Know the sites your kids visit and their online activities. Ask where they’re going, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with.

  • Tell your kids that as a responsible parent you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern. Installing parental control filtering software or monitoring programs are one option for monitoring your child’s online behavior, but do not rely solely on these tools.

  • Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use.

  • Ask for their passwords, but tell them you’ll only use them in case of emergency

  • Ask to “friend” or “follow” your kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.

  • Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or cell phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having

What is Online Enticement?

Online Enticement involves an individual communicating with someone believed to be a child via the internet with the intent to commit a sexual offense or abduction. This is a broad category of online exploitation and includes sextortion, in which a child is being groomed to take sexually explicit images and/or ultimately meet face-to-face with someone for sexual purposes, or to engage in a sexual conversation online or, in some instances, to sell/trade the child’s sexual images. This type of victimization takes place across every platform; social media, messaging apps, gaming platforms, etc. 

Learn more about Cyberbullying and What Adults Can Do to Prevent and Address it- (Cyberbullying Tip Sheet)

  • Child Safety Guide - A parent’s guide to online safety, child abduction, and runaway issues provides valuable information and resources. Child Safety Guide

  • Student Cyber Safety - From the Office of the Attorney General's Cyber Safety Education Program Student Cyber Safety

Online Safety Resources

NetSmartz is an educational program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Resources are available for parents & guardians, educators, law enforcement, teens and younger children. For parents, there are tips and discussion starters for a variety of topics including cell phones, sexting, cyberbullying, social networking and inappropriate content.

FBI Kids
Provided by the FBI, this guide provides valuable information to parents about potential signs indicating a child might be at risk online

Faux Paw
Meet Faux Paw, an adventurous six-toed cat who loves technology.  These fun books teach rules to promote the safe and healthy use of digital devices. Read or watch Faux Paw’s adventures using links below each book’s description.

Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. This independent organization provides ratings and reviews for things kids want to watch, read, play, and learn such as apps, books, games, movies, music, television and websites. Information for parents is available on a variety of topics including privacy & Internet safety, cyberbullying, social media and learning with technology.

Be Internet Awesome with Google
To make the most of the Internet, kids need to be prepared to make smart decisions. Be Internet Awesome teaches kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence.

Cyber Insure One
This collection of resources provides parents with statistics and tools to help keep children and teens safe while using the Internet.  Additionally, there are resources for parents to help their children become responsible digital citizens.

Smart Social
SmartSocial takes a positive approach to social media safety with fun and easy to follow videos and training guides.