How to Handle Your Child Being Cyberbullied
Kids have it tough these days, there are a lot of opportunities for a child to be bullied that did not exist when I was younger. Cyberbullying seems to be the newest trend among youngsters and in this post we will discuss how to handle things if you find that your child is being bullied on the internet.
First and foremost I recommend making sure that you have a handle on what your child is doing online. Know their social media accounts and also keep an eye on their cell phones. Some will say this is an invasion of privacy, but personally I feel that it is a gateway to knowing if your child is in any harm and to make sure they are communicating with positive influences.
Many parents do not even know what cyberbullying is so here is a quick definition before we jump in:
the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.
How do handle it:
- We have to know that most kids who are bullied through electronic communication never tell a parent or authority figure. We have to be able to know the signs or know what to look for to even begin to address what is happening. Consider yourself lucky if your child comes to you looking for help with being cyber bullied and never turn them away.
- We have to make sure that our kids know it is not their fault. Often the bully will pick something that they personally do not like about a child and then use it as part of the cyber attack. Aaron Minc discusses cyber defamation in a way that I have never seen it discussed and I really like his approach in calling it cyber defamation.
- Teaching our kids to not respond to these bullies is a huge part. When attacked everyone wants to defend themselves, but in this case silence is often the best tactic. Kind of the “don’t stir the pot” mentality.
- Collect the evidence. We live in a time where really nothing is private with features to allow us to save pretty much anything we see especially using our cell phone’s screen shot feature. This is a great tactic in case the authorities or school officials have to become involved.
- A great tool for avoiding the bully is to utilize the block feature offered by most social media outlets. This is a great way to end communication with a cyber bully and to avoid the situation.
- Your child is not the only person being bullied online or by other forms of electronic communication, so teach them to be resilient and to let this just run off of their backs, but also remember that there are some cases that do need others to become involved to come up with a solution.
At the end of the day, teaching our children to not be cyber bullies is a great tool but often peer pressure does get in the way and kids can become involved before they are even aware of what is happening. Let’s all work together to end this horrible trend!