Many of today’s parents grew up in a time when bullying was confined to the schoolyard. Like traditional bullying, cyberbullying may be caused by kids struggling for power, dealing with boredom, or testing boundaries. However, the anonymous aspect of some online communication can create a lack of empathy for the victim who is “not there” in person.
Kids who are victims of bullying or cyber bullying may show signs of depression and anxiety, and may lose interest in school. According to The Harford County Examiner , just 1 in 10 who of those who are being cyberbullied discloses this to a parent.
What Can Parents Do?
While there is no single solution to preventing or dealing with cyberbullying, parents can help encourage responsible online behavior and keep an open dialogue with their children. Here are some suggestions:
- Talk with your kids about the consequences of their online behavior.
- Discourage sharing highly personal information online and giving passwords to friends. This makes the work of cyberbullies much easier.
- Familiarize yourself with the rules around cyber bullying at your child’s school and within your community. Make sure your kids understand these rules.
- You may want to monitor your kids’ online accounts and keep the computer in a shared space.
- Encourage children to come forward if they are experiencing cyber bullying, just as you would if they were being bullied physically. They should also speak up if they are being pressured to cyber bully someone else.
- http://mediasmarts.ca has a lot of online resources such as worksheets and tutorials, teaching youth online safety and providing ethical guidelines for online behavior.
By opening the lines of communication with your family about issues such as cyberbullying, you’ll encourage kids to come forward for support and advice about other challenges they are facing or may face as well.
The following blog postings have been helpful for many of our clients and may be of interest to you, too. Please note that they do not replace professional support and assistance. If you find yourself in crisis, please reach out to support resources in your community.