When Laura entered middle school, she became very close friends with a group of "popular" girls at school. They spent hours talking on the phone and shopping at the mall - the group was inseparable. But one evening Laura got an instant message from one of her friends calling her nasty names. Another one followed from another friend, and they kept coming. The girls teased her at school, too, whenever they saw her in the halls.
Laura started dreading going to school, and she wasn't even safe at home. Whenever she logged on to the Internet, she found hostile emails in her inbox and cruel IM's on her screen. Laura was afraid to tell her mom what was happening because she thought she would get in trouble, but eventually her mother noticed how upset she was and made Laura tell her what was going on.
Laura's mother's first step was to change Laura's IM user name so the girls couldn't IM her. She also made sure to set her email filter so that all emails from these girls went to a special mailbox where Laura didn't have to see them. Her mother then called the school principal to make sure he knew about the problem. With time, the group lost interest in picking on Laura. "I'm glad I finally found out what was happening," said Laura's mom. "This kind of bullying is hard to stop, but there are things you can do."
To learn protective measures against cyberbullying, see the encyclopedia entry on Cyberbullying