SCHOOL bullies have gone hi-tech in recent years in their efforts to ruin the social lives of their fellow students - but now technology companies are coming to the aid of those victims, trying to help parents fight off a scourge of cyberbullying as the school year gets underway. Cyberbullying " harassing or threatening other kids via the Internet and cell phones " goes beyond simple teasing, because the stakes can get much higher. Nothing illustrates that more than when in 2006, 13-year-old Megan Meier of Dardenne Prairie, Mo., killed herself after her "boyfriend" on MySpace broke up with her and said nasty things about her. It later developed that her "boyfriend" was not a real person, but someone who befriended her in order to harass her. An ex-friend's mother faces charges in federal court as a result, and Missouri has made Internet harassment a crime. Cyberbullies often commandeer e-mail accounts and social-networking profiles, attacking kids while pretending to be someone they trust, like a best friend. They use cell phones and the Web to spread embarrassing and cruel material, and they can harass their victims well beyond the schoolyard " even when they're "safe" at home. Tech companies are releasing new software products that monitor and police kids' Internet use, helping them avoid cyberbullying and letting parents know when it's occurring. Internet monitoring software like CyberBully Alert lets kids notify parents when they're being bullied and takes a screen shot of the computer when a child clicks an alert icon. Programs like CyberPatrol and Spector allow parents to keep tabs on everything kids do on MySpace and Facebook, and keep screen snapshots and a record of what kids write in chat and instant messages. Using these programs, parents can also block Web sites and downloads of movies, music or images. Verizon announced in June that it will begin offering similar free security tools for parents. Internet security software maker Symantec has an online tool it will preview to some parents next month that will notify them by text message when a child attempts to access a forbidden site. The tool, code-named Watchdog until its official release, also lets parents control who is on the child's buddy list. Symantec offers online tips at its Norton Family Resource Center. - FOX NEWS According to Parry Aftab, an Internet security and privacy lawyer and founder of WiredSafety.org, 85 percent of 5,000 middle-school students surveyed said they had been cyberbullied. Only 5 percent of them said they'd tell someone about it. Up to 70 percent of the kids being cyberbullied are being harassed by their former best friends, boyfriends or girlfriends. "Those people can do the damage they do because they know [your kids'] secrets and their passwords," Aftab said. "They can pose as them and say horrible things to everyone else." The consequences, especially for teens who are emotionally vulnerable, can be dire.