Sometimes bullying doesn't happen face-to-face. Gone are the days when a bully's only largesse involved toilet bowl swirlies. Today's bullies can target their victims through Facebook and e-mail campaigns, and even include mobile video or photos of their victims with texts. This is called "cyberbullying," and it occurs when one person uses interactive or digital technologies to torment or embarrass another person.
If your child's personal information or photos have been passed around online, or if a threat has occurred, go to local law enforcement. Specially trained cyber-harassment volunteers, such as those at WiredSafety.org, are available to work with investigators.
Here's what you can do at home: If your tween's been targeted by a bully online, tell your tween not to respond. Then block the bully, and limit anyone else from having access to your child's account or profile, unless they're trusted friends or family. There's software that can help with this, and most Internet or mobile phone providers offer free programs.
If you want to monitor the chatter about your tween online, Google is a good tool. Conduct searches using your tween's full name, nickname, full e-mail address and instant message screen name. You may be surprised what you find. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act requires Web sites and online services to remove information about children age 13 and younger -- if you request it.