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Tips to manage cyber bullying

Tips to manage cyber bullying

The following practical tips are provided to help parents manage the risks of cyber bullying with young children, older children and teenagers.

Young Children

Cyber bullying is less common between young children with the likelihood of a child being involved in cyber bullying increasing with age.

Cyber bullying can have negative academic, social and psychological outcomes for children, so providing support for children who are involved in cyber bullying is critical.

For young children, general internet safety tips are a good starting point to help them to develop appropriate online etiquette and to learn appropriate responses to bullying behaviours. The following tips are particularly important:

  1. At this age children’s internet use should still be closely monitored. To help with this try to keep the computer in a shared or visible place in the home.
  2. Keep your child connected online and offline to friends and family that they trust. This helps to protect them from potentially negative outcomes.
  3. Help your child understand that what they say and do online is important. Encourage your child to use the same manners, communicate with others in the same way and report others who aren’t being nice, just as they would in the offline world.
  4. Advise your child not to respond to any negative messages and to report any negative messages they receive to you or another trusted adult.
  5. If your child has passwords for their online activities advise them never to share their password with friends—friendships may be short lived at this age and former friends can misuse passwords to cyber bully.
  6. If your child has been involved in cyber bullying and seems distressed or shows changes in behaviour or mood it may be advisable to seek professional support,
  7. Your child’s schools may also be able to provide support and guidance.
  8. If there is a threat to your child’s safety the police can help.

Older Children

Cyber bullying occurs most commonly among older children and teens.

Cyber bullying can have negative academic, social and psychological outcomes, so providing support for children and young people who are involved in cyber bullying is critical.

Helping children to manage responses to negative online behaviour and keeping them connected online and offline to friends and family that they trust are important measures to protect them from potentially negative outcomes. The following tips are particularly important:

  1. At this age your child’s internet use should still be closely monitored. To help with this try to keep the computer in a shared or visible place in the home.
  2. Talk to your child about cyber bullying before it happens. Work out strategies to address cyber bullying that you are both comfortable with, so your child knows what to expect if they do report concerns to you or another trusted adult.
  3. Reassure your child that you won’t block their access to the internet if they report concerns about cyber bullying. Help them to stay connected online and offline to supportive family and friends.
  4. Help your child to block anyone who sends offensive content. Most social networking services allow users to block and report someone who is behaving badly,
  5. Advise your child not to respond to any negative messages but to save the messages and details of the senders. You may want to save the messages for your child so that they don’t keep reading them and potentially feel worse.
  6. Encourage children to support their friends and report concerns about friends who may be involved in cyber bullying.
  7. Help your child to develop the skills they need to interact safely and respectfully online. Guide their online activities and help them learn to communicate appropriately with friends and family.
  8. Advise your child never to share their password with friends—friendships may be short lived at this age and former friends can misuse passwords to cyber bully.
  9. If your child has been involved in cyber bullying and seems distressed or shows changes in behaviour or mood it may be advisable to seek professional support
  10. If there is a threat to your child’s safety the police can help. In life threatening and time critical situations.

Teenagers

Cyber bullying occurs most commonly among older children and teens.

Cyber bullying can have negative academic, social and psychological outcomes for children, so providing support for children who are involved in cyber bullying is critical.

For many teens, their online life is an important part of their social identity. Many teens fear that parents might disconnect them from the internet and therefore their supportive friends as a ‘solution’ to cyber bullying. This prevents some teens from reporting cyber bullying issues. Some teens are also concerned that parents will make cyber bullying issues worse. The following tips are particularly important:

  1. Talk to your teen about cyber bullying before it happens. Work out strategies to address cyber bullying that you are both comfortable with, so your child knows what to expect if they do report concerns to you or another trusted adult. Reassure them that you are will be there to support them and won’t disconnect them from their online world.
  2. Encourage your teen to tell you or another trusted adult if they receive or hear of negative messages, or are excluded by others. Help them stay connected to trusted friends and family both online and offline. This is an important protective measure against the potentially negative outcomes of bullying.
  3. Advise your teen not to respond to any negative messages but to save the messages and details of the senders. You may want to save the messages for your teen so that they don’t keep reading them and potentially feel worse.
  4. You can help your teen report any concerns to the administrator of the service used, including the mobile phone provider (if SMS is involved), website administrator (if social networking or chat services are involved), or internet service provider.
  5. Understand your school’s policy about cyber bullying—do they have a policy and what is the likely outcome of a complaint about cyber bullying if another student is involved.
  6. Encourage your teen to support their friends and report concerns about friends who may be involved in cyber bullying.
  7. Advise your child never to share their password with friends—friendships may be short lived at this age and former friends can misuse passwords to cyber bully.
  8. If your child has been involved in cyber bullying and seems distressed or shows changes in behaviour or mood it may be advisable to seek professional support.
  9. If there is a threat to your child’s safety the police can help. In life threatening and time critical situations.

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