According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, 40% of kids in the US say they’ve been bullied on the Internet. Cyberbullies are often kids that know your children so there is a connection to the physical world that makes cyberbullying a very real part of their existence. Cyberbullying can be detrimental to your child’s self-esteem and even lead to suicide.
What can parents do to help their children?
Dr. Michelle Borba, parenting expert and author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries put together eight ways to help your child through the experience of being cyberbullied so that they do not end up as a statistic.
- Keep an open dialogue with your child so they feel comfortable talking to you if something bad happens online. Listen carefully regarding their online experiences.
- Let your child know you believe them and will not stop helping them until they feel safe.
- Do not promise your kid that you “won’t tell”. You may need to step in.
- Save evidence. Print out the messages and do not delete them.
- Set up a meeting with your child’s school guidance counselor and teacher. Your child will need emotional support through this process.
- Create a “safety plan” for your child. Who can your child go to if they don’t feel safe? Find at least one adult staff member and one caring student that they can go to.
- Monitor your child’s emotional state closely. If they show any signs of depression or suicide, get the help of a counselor or a trained mental health provider immediately.
- If your child’s safety is at stake or the cyber attackers are vicious, contact authorities.
For more information please read more of Dr Borba’s articles on Cyberbullying at her blog Reality Check