The Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP), along with crime prevention and wireless organizations, last week outlined steps parents can take to reduce the risk of their children becoming victims of online bullying. At a National Press Club briefing held as part of Internet Safety Month, OJP officials and national experts highlighted recent cyber bullying research and showcased state-of-the-art resources available to help middle and high school students avoid being threatened while using computers, wireless devices and other technology.

"The Internet and other communications technology make it easy to develop and maintain friendships, but in the wrong hands these tools can also be a means of harassing and intimidating young people," said OJP Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey L. Sedgwick. "Parents need to be aware of the dangers their kids face when they use these devices and know how to guard against them."

Speakers at the briefing highlighted several key initiatives designed to educate young people and their parents on how to avoid inappropriate and unlawful online behavior. The Delete Cyberbullying public service campaign, administered by the National Crime Prevention Council with funding support from OJP's Bureau of Justice Assistance, helps teens understand the important role they can play in preventing cyber bullying.

Speakers provided tips for teenagers, parents and educators on how to avoid cyber bullies. For example, they encouraged parents to use filtering programs on their computers and to become familiar with text lingo and social networking sites. They also said that teens should be careful not to give out personal information on the Internet and to report any form of harassment, regardless of how harmless it seems. Educators should also establish policies on cyber bullying and other forms of Internet harassment.