If you suspect or learn your child is engaging in cyberbullying:
- Understand your child could be engaging in harmful behavior that may be against school policy and/or the law.
- Thoroughly review the incidents.
- Speak with your child, and explain the harmful impact of cyberbullying. It’s important to discuss the negative impact cyberbullying has online and in real life.
- Listen to your child’s explanations, discuss expectations, and share potential ramifications if the cyberbullying does not stop.
- Explain how using the internet leaves a trail, and people engaging in cyberbullying may face ramifications.
- Consider installing a cyberbullying prevention app. Software to detect and stop cyberbullying is available, and may be helpful in addressing challenges. It can provide youth with an opportunity to pause, reconsider harmful posts, and learn to make better choices.
- Regardless of which child started, make sure your child understands not to engage or retaliate.
If your child’s negative online behavior continues or escalates, consider seeking professional help and/or programs in impulse management, social media addiction, gaming addiction, etc., as necessary.
It also is essential to remember your child is a child who may make mistakes and needs direction. Your response should depend on the severity of the incident(s) and focus on lessons learned, expectations, and better behavior going forward.
If your child posted harmful or defamatory content, it should be removed. This step could be part of your overall process of helping your child understand the impact of online negativity. In the event your child will not participate in the content removal, it still should be taken down.
For additional insights in how to proceed when your child engages in cyberbullying, reach out to an organization that helps parents address it:
The Cybersmile Foundation Global Support Service
Consider using a Digital Citizen Pledge as a guide to discuss cyber-safety and cyberbullying. Open communication is key to helping your child understand expectations and reasons behind them.