"I understand why kids do it, but there's way more negatives than positives that could possibly come out of it, and if I were raising a son or daughter, I would be like, 'Why do you care so much about people asking you these questions and demonstrating interest in you this way, because it opens you up for more harassment,' " said Hinduja, co-author of "Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral," a book for teens to be released in December.
If you are a parent and you are slightly freaked right now, I can relate. I can't even imagine what apps, sites and platforms will be around when my kids, who are 5 and 7, are in the middle and high school years.
But Hinduja, whose site has numerous resources for parents, says parents can feel empowered rather than overwhelmed by being as actively involved in their kids' online lives as they are in their offline lives. That means being familiar with the technology but not necessarily declaring sites like Ask.fm and Kik off-limits.
"Kids don't want to hear us preach and lecture about all of (technology's) evils. They will immediately tune out," Hinduja said.
The better approach, he said, is to embrace the latest technology and strike up conversations with your kids about it, asking them about stories of bullying and harassment in the news.
"Constantly having these conversations with kids so that they know their parent is not oblivious to these issues goes such a long way," he said.
Lidle, the middle school principal, agrees and encourages parents to plunge fully into their kids' online world.
"This is not our world that kids are operating in," Lidle said. "They call us digital immigrants. We have to immerse ourselves in what's going on in their world, as uncomfortable as it is. Our kids are at stake, and we cannot drop the vigilance of knowing what's going on in their worlds."
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said parents should also keep open communication with their kids' friends.
"A lot of times, you'll hear from your children's friends before you hear from your own child," he said.
'Say those few kind words'
Scheff, the parent advocate and author, believes parents and educators can also teach our kids to be "cybershields" for other children.
She wonders what might have happened if any of the 15 or so kids believed to have been cyberbullying Rebecca Sedwick decided to protect her instead.
"Wonder if they decided ... 'Hey listen, we can do something to be kind to this girl. Let's say ... your hair looks nice today. You look pretty today. Don't listen to these girls. You have a reason to live. You don't have to do this. ... Don't think you have to end your life,' " Scheff said.
"All it would take is a few words in the opposite way, and that's what (kids) need to learn, how to say those few kind words."