Take Action When Your Child Experiences Cyberbullying

Patch Across New York Take Action When Your Child Experiences Cyberbullying Lisa-Michelle Kucharz

If your child has experienced cyberbullying by another minor, take action and find support:

  • If the acts of cyberbullying include private messages, emails, or text messages, send the responsible account one message, “Stop.”
  • Other than sending “stop” once, do not communicate with the child engaging in cyberbullying, or his or her parents or legal guardian.
  • Instruct your child not to engage or retaliate.
  • Offer your child support, and contact a mental health counselor, as needed.
  • Document all incidents. Create an outline with dates, times, social networks, apps, websites, individuals involved, and known witnesses.
  • If the child engaging in cyberbullying attends the same school or a school in the same district as your child:
    • Contact your child’s principal and request a face-to-face meeting.
    • Review the school’s anti-bullying policy. Be prepared to discuss how the policy was broken or challenges with the policy.
    • Explain the situation fully. Be prepared, and bring organized printouts. Share what happened and how it has impacted your child.
    • Outline your expectations.
    • Listen carefully to the school’s response, and ask questions. Request specific information on how the school will handle the situation.
    • Take detailed notes of the conversation, and summarize your understanding of the meeting and next steps.
    • Follow up with the principal to ensure steps are carried out, and inform the school of additional incidents.
    • Obtain copies of all documentation and reports.
    • Follow up with your child to see if the cyberbullying has stopped.
    • If the cyberbullying continues, consider contacting the school board, superintendent of schools, board of education, state or federal authorities, or law enforcement.
  • If the child engaging in cyberbullying does not attend the same school or a school in your child’s district, contact local law enforcement.
  • If your child is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. Otherwise, if the cyberbullying includes threats of violence, contact your precinct or village police.
  • Block the account(s) of the child engaging in cyberbullying on all social networks, apps, and other sites in which your child is active.
  • Report abusive content to social networks, apps, and other sites.
  • Consider blocking mutual acquaintances of the child engaging in cyberbullying.
  • Make sure your child does not share private information online.
  • Do not publicly post information and photos of your child. Change your settings to ensure your posts are private, for connections or friends only.
  • Set up alerts to inform you if content about your child is posted online at google.com/alerts.
  • Find support to help prepare you to work with law enforcement or navigate the judicial process, if necessary.
  • Consider contacting an attorney to explain relevant laws where you reside; advocate on your behalf with law enforcement, the school, or organizations; consider issuing a cease and desist order; or assist with defamatory content removal.
  • Avoid using labels like “bully,” “cyberbully,” or “victim,” when discussing incidents with your child.

You also can reach out to the following resources with or without your child:

Originally posted on the Patch by Lisa-Michelle Kucharz with Jeff Jacomowitz, Patch contributor, on June 6, 2018.