Cyberbullying and Digital/Internet Safety

Contact Information

The Internet offers a wealth of resources and material for education. Accessed through a variety of electronic devices, it also allows for rich and diverse opportunities for 21st-century communications. These devices are becoming ever more diverse and ubiquitous. They raise issues of digital / Internet safety and digital citizenship. Along with ensuring that our young people have the technological skills to effectively use digital devices, platforms, and resources for educational purposes, we also have the responsibility to teach them how to be safe and productive digital citizens of the 21st century. This responsibility has been mandated through the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act.

Within this context, Washington's anti-bullying law includes the prohibition of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is bullying using electronic devices to initiate repeated negative behavior toward a less-powerful person. Electronic name-calling, shunning, and shaming are all forms of cyberbullying. So are spreading rumors, gossiping, and making threats online. Schools are permitted to discipline students who engage in cyberbullying if it disrupts the orderly operation of the school. Additional HIB training materials are available on the Safety Center website.

Attorney General's Cyberbullying Summit

Introductory Training Presentations - Cyberbullying

The introductory presentations below are provided to assist districts with the HIB training requirements of RCW 28A.300.285. These specifically provide information on cyberbullying:

Background Research/Resource Materials

Research/Resource Material:


Beyond cyberbullying and other digital safety considerations, districts and schools face ever-changing, challenging cybersecurity hazards and threats. Cybersecurity threats may be considered “technological” or “human-caused” threats. They can disrupt education and critical functions and allow for the release of sensitive information on staff and students. Recovery can be very costly. The resources noted here can help districts and schools develop cybersecurity annexes to their comprehensive EOP/safety plans to prevent such events.

Curriculum Resources

NetSmartz: Classroom and background information and resources from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Internet Safety Brochure

Cyber Safety: Tips for Safe Surfing is a full-color, two-page brochure for parents and teens. Schools may print this as a brochure and distribute to their families.

Internet Safety Brochure - English | Tagalog | Spanish | Cambodian | Korean | Russian | Somali | Ukrainian | Vietnamese

Legislation & Policies
The following is a limited list of laws and policies. It is not exhaustive but rather identified several laws and policies which are pertinent to cyberbullying and digital/Internet safety. Please check with state and local agencies for laws and policies in your area.


Washington state:

Protecting Children in the 21st Century (Title II of the Broadband Data Improvement Act, 2008)

The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act adds statutory language to existing FCC rules for the implementation of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). CIPA compliance, in turn, impacts ERate compliance. In addition to existing CIPA requirements, the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act now also requires school boards to update their Internet Use/Internet Safety policies to include statutory language to say they are providing for the education of minors regarding appropriate online behavior including interacting with others on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and regarding cyberbullying awareness and response.

Sexting Information
Sexting is not a singular thing. It covers a range of possible actions and motivations. Sexting is online communication involving youth produced sexually explicit or suggestive images created and shared through the use of personal communication technologies. Sexting response requires clear policies and procedures, common sense, compassion, and a known plan of action. Discuss sexting with your legal office before a situation arises.

Social Networking Resources for Schools and Home

These documents have been developed by reliable sources. They are designed to help adults in schools and at home better understand what social networking is and how to use it safely. They will help people to more easily talk with youth about appropriate behaviors and safety issues and to be better prepared to help when necessary.

Teacher / Family Background Resources
Youth Resources

A Thin Line: A site created by MTV to empower youth to identify, respond to, and stop digital abuse among young people. A Thin Line has added a Grown Ups link for parents and educators.

NetSmartz: Classroom and background information and resources from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.