Denise Edwards, not her real name, saw a message on her son’s cell phone that stated: “Im gonna kill you 2mrw”Her heart stopped when she heard the unrecognized number. Her son was shocked to discover that an older boy had been sending similar texts for approximately two months.

Experts believe that teens are four times more likely than other children to hurt or demeaningly speak to their peers when they’re behind the computer or phone screen.

Tim Woda, an expert in digital safety, explains: “Cyberbullies are often not the biggest kids on the playground or the meanest girls at school. If you want to protect against cyberbullying, parents need to be aware of what their kids are doing online and be willing to act quickly when they see a red flag.”

Here are some ways parents can prevent cyberbullying

* Talk about it: The best defense is a good offense. Ask your child how they would react if someone was being mean to them online. What should they do? Is it acceptable to forward a text message ridiculing someone?

* Spot it: Cyberbullying can cause kids to avoid using their phone or computer, or appear stressed when receiving an e-mail or text. They might be reluctant to attend school events, avoid talking about school or friends, or act hesitantly. Extreme cases can lead to declining grades, difficulty sleeping, and even eating problems.

* Deal with it: Teach them to never respond, save the evidence and report the incident to an adult they trust. Next, meet with school administrators and discuss cyberbullying policies. Then create a plan. Talk about the situation with both the bully’s parents and the parent. This type of meeting can sometimes be mediated by a school guidance counselor.

* Prevent it: Stealing your child’s phone or their passwords to social networking accounts is not an ideal way to understand what’s going on in their digital world. A parental intelligence service like will alert you to cyberbullying and dangerous behavior. It is best to install parental monitoring software as soon as your child receives a social media or mobile phone account. Children will be more likely to accept it in the long-term.