The Internet offers an easy way to quickly distribute messages. It can be a convenient tool. But with the anonymity it provides, it can also be abused, even by kids. It's a problem some experts say the government has been slow to address, and one that could escalate to violence.
A study by the Internet safety group, I-Safe America finds that 42 percent of students have been bullied on-line. Shanterra McBride with the Empower Program says " it's become kids preferred method of bullying. What they're doing now is smiling at school. They get home, turn on computers. They get on instant messenger. They get on email accounts an they send harassing and threatening emails and text messages to one another."
Signs your child may be a victim include: making up excuses to stay home from school, avoiding computers and changing friends. Experts say parents shouldn't feel guilty about keeping tabs on who their kids are messaging.
Experts on cyberbullying say parents should think seriously about why their child needs a cell phone; and if they already have one, know who they're text messaging and who's messaging back.
Parents may have an excellent resource closer than they think. Experts say the computer or technical teacher at their child's school can help with cyberbully issues