With the increase in the number of children who are using the Internet, both for recreation and for school purposes, the instances of cyberbullying have increased as well. This means parents need to be concerned with the cyber safety of their children. While it can sometimes be difficult for a parent to identify if his child is being bullied online, it is important to know what to do as soon as you discover your child has become a victim of cyberbullying in some form through the Internet or his cell phone.
Tips for a victim of Cyberbullying: Talk to Your Child Ahead of Time
Many parents wait until their child is already the victim before they even discuss this sensitive topic. This is one of the first mistakes parents make. It is important to talk to your child before he is bullied so he will better know how to react when it does happen. Even if your child never becomes the victim of bullying, knowing he can protect himself will give you peace of mind as you send him off to school and out into the world. It is especially critical to make sure he knows how to identify and react to this behaviour online.
Tips for a victim of Cyberbullying: Keep Communication Open
While one of the most difficult aspects of parenting, it is essential to keep the lines of communication with your children open. Make sure your child knows he can come to you any time he experiences any difficulties. This includes if he feels someone is bullying him online or in person at school. When your child feels comfortable coming to you about the issue, you will be able to help him deal with it in the appropriate manner to put a stop to it and report it to the proper people.
Tips for a victim of Cyberbullying: Ask for Details
The most important element to helping your child deal with cyberbullying is to ask him for as many details as he can remember. For instance, you need to know which websites he has been visiting, the usernames of those who have been causing problems, how often he goes to these sites, what is said, how he reacts and more. The more details you obtain, the easier you will be able to help your child learn how to handle this behaviour and stand up for himself as much as possible.
Tips for a victim of Cyberbullying: Offer Support
The best thing you can do for your child who has been bullied is to give him support and understanding. Some parents are quick to blame their child for doing something that triggered the bully to behave as he did. However, most victims are not at fault at all. It is important for parents to make sure their children know they didn’t do anything to deserve to be bullied, nor is it acceptable behaviour for anyone. Offering your child support will help him feel as if he isn’t alone and will give him the strength he needs to fight against the bully and come out the winner.
Tips for a victim of Cyberbullying: Give Tips
Your child’s cyber safety is in your hands. As you talk to your child about the presence of bullying online, it is up to you to teach him how to handle the bullies. In some cases, it is best to ignore the behaviour, especially when it takes place online. However, sometimes this can lead to even more problems for your child. Do not tell your child to physically retaliate against the bully or to return the same type of talk online. If your child already handled it and you don’t agree with the way he handled it, give him examples of how he should have handled it to ensure he is able to deal with it more appropriately in the future.
Tips for a victim of Cyberbullying: Role Playing
A great way you can teach your child how to appropriately handle online bullies and their behaviour is to role play with your child. Allow your child to act as the bully so he can watch how you react and deal with the problem. Watching you deal with similar problems will help him learn how to handle them himself when he encounters them in the future. Once he has watched you react, switch roles and see how he handles the same behaviour. This can help you gauge his understanding.
Tips for a victim of Cyberbullying: Don’t Intervene
As much as it is tempting to approach the bully yourself to take care of the problem, this often only escalates the problem. It is always best to allow your child to deal with it or report it to the appropriate authorities, either the school or the website administration. Allowing your child to attempt to deal with the problem first is often the best method because it allows your child to learn how to stand up for himself and handle this type of behaviour in his daily life.
Tips for a victim of Cyberbullying: Contact the Appropriate Authorities
When your child shares the details of his encounters with you, you will be able to identify to whom the behaviour should be reported. If the bully is someone with whom your child goes to school, you need to familiarize yourself with the school’s anti-bully policy and how these situations are dealt with. In most cases, the school administration needs to know about situations that involve school children, especially if the problem occurs on the school computers. Many websites also have policies in place to protect all their users. When you let the website owner know what is going on, they will often take action on their end to curb the behaviour.
Tips for a victim of Cyberbullying: Follow Up
Never assume the problem has been resolved just because you listened to your child and helped him deal with the problem. In some cases, the bully will continue the behaviour, despite everything you have done to help your child fight back and learn how to handle it. Instead, ask your child how things are going for at least a couple of weeks after the incident. If you reported the problem to the school or the website administration, make sure you touch base with them as well. They may not be able to tell you what actions have been taken, but they can set your mind at ease that the problem has been handled successfully.
Tips for a victim of Cyberbullying: Be Persistent
Cyberbullying is a problem that can’t always be handled quickly. If you follow up and things haven’t improved as they should, keep talking to your child about how he is handling it and what he can continue to do to fight back and stand up for himself. Also, continue to call or send emails to make sure the problems are being handled on all the appropriate levels. The more you talk about it, the more likely it is to come to a stop.
Cyberbullying is a real problem that is impacting children of all ages. Because so many children use the Internet and cell phones on a regular basis, the instances of bullying have increased, making it necessary for parents to ensure the cyber safety of their children. When you follow these tips for helping your child handle the bullies, you will be giving your child the tools he needs to succeed against the bully and in life in general.