Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

Some chat, gossip apps enable cyberbullying; Attorney General Kane offers tips

School-aged children are always looking for the app of the week. With recent reports that some chat and gossip apps are perpetuating cyberbullying, Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane is reminding students, parents and educators about the dangers of cyberbullying, as well as tips to avoid becoming a victim.

Tips for parents

  • Know what apps your children are downloading and using on their tablets and phones. Popular apps include Yik Yak, Snapchat, Vine, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Know your child's password(s).
  • Regularly review your child's online communications.
  • Install parental control software or monitoring programs on tablets, laptops and computers.
  • Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they or someone they know is being cyberbullied.

Reporting cyberbullying

  • Steps to take immediately:

    • Do not respond and do not forward hurtful messages or photos.
    • Record the date, time and description of instances when cyberbullying has occurred.
    • Save and print screenshots, emails and text messages.
    • Block the cyberbully.
    • Report the instance to the social media site so they can take action against users abusing the terms of service.

  • Report cyberbullying to your school if the bullying is creating a disruptive environment in the classroom or leading to in-person bullying.
  • Report cyberbullying to law enforcement if it includes: threats of violence; child pornography; sending sexually explicit messages/photos; taking a photo or video of someone where they expect privacy; or stalking/hate crimes.

About cyberbullying

  • Kids who are cyberbullied are often bullied in person as well.
  • Kids who are cyberbullied have a more difficult time getting away from the behavior.
  • Cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and messages can be received by children even when they are in the presence of an adult.
  • Kids who are cyberbullied are more likely to:

    • Use alcohol and drugs.
    • Skip school.
    • Experience in-person bullying.
    • Receive poor grades.
    • Exhibit lower self-esteem.

  • Cyberbullying is reaching epidemic proportions, and has been factor in some reported suicides across the country.

Education and outreach

  • The Office of Attorney General's Education & Outreach Unit presents programs on Internet and social media safety to schools and community groups - free of charge.
  • Organizations interested in materials, speakers or presentations should contact the Attorney General's Education and Outreach Unit at 1-800-525-7642 or via email at education@attorneygeneral.gov.

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