When your children start school you always hope that they will have a positive experience and make friends with everyone in their class. Unfortunately, that isn’t always how it works out. Bullying has always been an issue throughout life, whether it is a kid picking on you in the schoolyard to a coworker giving you a hard time at work, it is everywhere. Now with the ever growing, overly connected digital world cyber bullying has come into play. Cyber bullying according to Wikipedia is “the use of social networks to repeatedly harm or harass other people in a deliberate manner.” Cyber bullying can be more dangerous than in person bullying because it is harder to escape. Your home is supposed to be a safe place and cyber bullying finds it’s way into your home, which is very scary. Cyber bullying can happen 24/7 due to unlimited Internet access from smart phones, laptops, tablets, etc. Cyber bullies can also be anonymous; they can hide behind their screen, which makes it harder to stop. Children report cyber bullying less than in person bullying so you if you suspect your child is being bullied pay extra attention to your child. Children who are cyber bullied can show signs of depression: sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem, insecurity, alienation, decline in academic performance, even suicidal thoughts, etc. Always be supportive and have an open channel of communication with you children. Set rules that you feel necessary (time spent online, what websites they can use, apps, etc.) Educate yourself on potential dangers/threats, websites and apps, etc. and encourage your child to engage in safe and positive online activity. If cyber bullying continues and is serious don’t be afraid to seek help from an outside source. Talking to teachers or other parents in the community about the situation can greatly help spread awareness of the dangers of cyber bullying. As always with my posts, the best things you can do are to be aware, educated, and open to communication.