Bullying online: How to keep your kids safe

Each day, an estimated 160,000 school kids stay home from school out of fear of bullying.

But technology in the form of smart phones and social media has made bullying a 24/7 threat that can occur anywhere — even in safety of a child's home.

That puts a greater responsibility on parents to set stringent social media guidelines — and be ever more vigilant.

“What brings a young person to the Internet to harm others is stress and strain," Paula Todd, author of “Extreme Mean: Trolls, Bullies and Predators Online,” told Fox News.com. "If a family is in a domestic crisis, if there is a problem at home, kids don’t have the same coping mechanisms as adults so they vent online.

“More shocking equals more attention.  More attentions equal more likes.  Social media is a popularity contest.  We have to stop applauding bullying behavior," Todd warned.

Jesse Miller, a social media education expert at Mediated Reality, believes parents, "have to be the lifeguard in the social media pool."

"Parents have to participate with their child, monitor who the child is talking to on their phone, their social media accounts, and limit access,” Miller said. “Set ground rules when it’s appropriate to use smart phones and have access to social media.”

In order for anti-bullying strategies to work, parents and educators must work together.

Rocio Inclan, director of the National Education Association's Civil Rights Dept., advised that, “Every student needs to know there’s a caring adult to do something about bullying.

"Many times adults want to intervene but lack the training," Inclan said. "NEA believes this is a problem that can be fixed with educating the educators and caring adults and working in collaboration with the parents and community.”

The NEA is offering a Bullying Prevention Kit that has four key components:

1.            How do I advocate?

2.            How do I intervene?

3.            What is bullying?

4.            Implement the Bullying Prevention Kit free online

Another tip is for parents and caretakers to communicate with their children.

“Parents have life experience and that wisdom is more helpful than any smart phone your child can access," Miller said. "Have proactive conversations regarding online discussions and the use of digital media."

Additionally, the focus needs to not only be on the bullying victim, but also the bully.

“People who have challenges in their life are disproportionately attracted to the Internet,” Todd said.  “We’re addressing the victims of the bullying, but it’s vital that we start investigating the bullies, talking to them and figuring out what’s wrong to stop the cycle of abuse.”