Internet safety or what to do about it wasn't something anybody considered with regards to sitting behind a machine, or using something as simple as an iPhone.

Nowadays, however, it isn't anything anybody is taking for granted. Cyber bullying, one of the biggest online abuses with today’s Internet, is piquing the attention of Internet safety experts and law enforcement agencies.

Bullying someone online is a bit different from what we know as schoolyard bullying, at least in the beginning. What we have to understand is that there is a difference between the traditional bullying, which is often associated with power struggles between bully and victim, a dedicated targeting of a victim with ongoing aggression; and online bullying, a form of bullying less obvious than the traditional face-face abuse.

Information from a University of British Columbia study in 2012 found 95 percent of the youth surveyed said that what happened online was initially meant to be a joke and about five percent was actually meant to harm someone.

What this study indicates is that children don’t connect online bullying with traditional bullying. This joking, intended or not to be harmful, can spiral out of control. For example, teenagers posting vile messages on a free social networking site AskFM, has reportedly linked to several suicides.

This case remains before the courts, and what is important here is how does one prevent online bullying and the horrible consequences?

Let’s start at home.

An open and honest relationship between parents and children is one of the best ways to protect from these online risks. It sounds easy, but only one in ten children report online abuse to their parents.

Next we can consider the web cam.

Often overlooked, this camera can be a spy camera in the hands of a clever person. Cam chatting reveals what is in the background from the name of a school on a uniform, or even your teen’s nametag on a sports jersey. By piecing together a few items in the view of the camera, someone posing as a teen, but much older, could learn a few things about your teen. All someone with mal-intent needs is a few pieces of information to start an investigation.

Sometimes forgotten in parental supervision are the differences in schedules. While you’re asleep, they text and chat, and this accounts for why your teen may be tired at school. They are texting or chatting between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., while you sleep. That is the best time to take their hand held devices and lock their computers.

It may seem like these methods are intrusive, and they are meant to be that way. The Internet cyber bullies are intruding and it is our job, as parents, to put an end to this.

British Columbia study:
www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/2012/04/13/cyberbullying-and-bullying-are-not-the-same-ubc-research