What should I do if I find out that my child has been cyberbullied?
The first thing that you can do as a parent if you find out that your child is being cyberbullied is to offer reassurance and support. It’s important not to belittle what they are feeling. Provide plenty of opportunities to talk openly and discuss what options they have tried already and what other options that you could try.
We find that many children do not talk to their parents when they are having a difficult time online, because they are worried that you will take away their access to a particular app or game, or to their device. While sometimes this might be necessary, consider other options first and ensure that the child understands they are not being punished or blamed for being bullied. You want them to feel that they can always come and talk to you when they are worried or upset about something online.
Advise that they don’t respond or delete any messages, posts or comments. They should save and screenshot, particularly anything like comments that others could choose to delete.
Make sure they know how to use blocking and reporting mechanisms on any social media or gaming sites that they are using. This is usually the only way that the platform will know about what is going on. If they block someone, that person will no longer be able to contact them or see their content.
Talk to the school if the bullying involves pupils at the same school or if your child needs extra support at school. Talk to the police in the case of serious harassment, threat of harm or indecent images or videos.
It's also a good idea to check out privacy settings on any social media or gaming accounts that they have. A child who shares more openly online, particularly without parental supervision, will be more vulnerable to a range of risks including cyberbullying.
Check out our blogs also for great tips on how to raise your child's resilience.