Bullying used to be pretty straightforward. A kid (or kids) ganged up on other kids, shouting taunts at them, shoving them around or stealing their stuff. But that took actual brute aggression, and most kids weren't up to mustering that level of face-to-face cruelty. Then along came the Internet and many less-physically empowered kids had their "prayers" answered: They could be despicably malicious to classmates and peers with seeming anonymity and impunity.
This new style of bullying is often considered more intimidating than physical violence. Tweens and teens (the most common victims of cyberbullying) can't leave their bullies at school anymore. Cyberbullies can follow them home; they can come into their dens and bedrooms. Whether it's harassing text messages, chat room rumors, embarrassing e-mail blasts, hurtful online polling or incriminating photo uploads, cyberbullies have a lot more in their arsenal -- and are able to deliver to a much wider audience -- than the bullies of years past.
If you suspect cyberbullying could become an issue in your household, you have a number of strategies available for helping your children deal with it. The first thing you need is information.