If your child is being cyberbullied
- Offer comfort and support. Talking about any bullying experiences you had in your childhood might help your child feel less alone.
- Let your child know that it’s not their fault. Bullying says more about the bully than the victim. Praise your child for doing the right thing by talking to you about it. Remind your child you’re in this together. Reassure your child that you’ll figure out what to do.
- Notify the school. Tell the principal, school nurse, or a counselor or teacher about the situation. Many schools, school districts, and after-school clubs have rules for responding to cyberbullying. These vary by district and state. But before reporting the problem, let your child know that you plan to do so, so that you can work out a plan that makes you both feel comfortable.
- Encourage your child not to respond to cyberbullying. Doing so just makes the situation worse.
- Keep records. Keep screen shots of the threatening messages, pictures, and texts. These can be used as evidence with the bully’s parents, school, employer, or even the police.
- Get help. If your son or daughter agrees, meeting with a therapist may help work through feelings. A counselor or mediator at school may work with your child alone or together with the bully.
What Else Should I Know?
What if it’s your kind who is behaving badly? While that can be upsetting, it’s important to deal with the problem and not expect it to go away. No matter what’s causing the bullying, tell your child that it’s unacceptable. Set and enforce consequences if it continues. If needed, talk with teachers, guidance counselors, and others who might be able to help.
As always, be a role model for your kids. Help them understand the benefits and dangers of the digital world. If you don’t get upset and use angry words in your own posts and replies, they’re less likely to. Talk about healthy ways to respond — or not — when you disagree with others.