Cyberbullying is one of the most common online threats affecting kids everyday. According to UNICEF, ⅓ of young kids in 30 countries have been the victim of bullying online. With such a high percentage, it’s understandable why parents are highly concerned about their child’s safety. But, what if your child is the cyberbully? Below, we explore more about cyberbullying and what to do if your child is a cyberbully.
What Is A Cyberbully?
A cyberbully is a person online who purposely looks to intimidate, embarrass, and harass someone online. There are various methods by which someone could cyberbully a person including text messaging, private messaging, and social media sharing, posting, and commenting.
Here are a few examples of how someone could exhibit bullying behaviour online:
- Spread rumors and gossip about a classmate in a student messaging group.
- Post private secrets about a friend on social media.
- Comment offensive remarks on someone’s social media post.
Cyberbullies don’t necessarily have to know their target, and could be a person of any age. They may decide to target someone based on biases or prejudices they have.
What Should You Do If Your Child’s A Cyberbully
Recognize The Signs
First, is your child showing the typical signs a cyberbully would exhibit? This includes avoiding talking about their technology use and becoming overly upset when you restrict their device use.
Accept What’s Going On
It can be hard as their parent, but you need to accept and acknowledge the fact that your child is a cyberbully. Remain calm and don’t jump to conclusions until determining your child’s motivations.
Talk With Your Child
Having a discussion about your child’s cyberbullying is crucial. In a calm matter, try to figure out why they are cyberbullying someone. What has caused them to act in such a way towards another? They need to understand that they can talk to you about anything including any wrongful actions they have committed.
Stop The Cyberbullying
After talking with your child, put a stop to their cyberbullying. Take whatever tactics you believe are necessary to prevent this from ever occurring again.
Determine Their Consequences
To help your child understand what they did was wrong, they need to face some consequences for their actions. This could include no recreational technology use for three months, they can’t hang out with their friends on the weekends, or doing house chores.
Have Them Apologize To Their Victim
If your child happens to know their victim, like a classmate, have them apologize to them. Your child confessing will help them overcome what they did, and it will help the victim get through this tough time.
Use Parental Controls
Parental controls are a way to restrict and oversee a child’s cell phone, tablet, computer, and other device use. With a parental control app, you can monitor all of your child’s texts, social media, photos, videos, apps, emails, and more. There are built-in device settings that enable parents to approve any app store downloads or purchases, create screen time limits, track their location, and more.
Educate Them On The Effects of Cyberbullying
To help your child understand the severity of the situation, teach them about the effects of cyberbullying. Understanding how their victim may have felt will help prevent them from cyberbullying in the future. Some of the effects include feeling humiliated, powerless, angry, alone, and depressed. Cyberbullying can even lead a victim to feel ill or commit suicide.
Cyberbullying is no laughing matter, and that’s what your child needs to understand. Cyberbullying could have some very harmful effects on another, intentional or not. As a parent, make sure to take the necessary steps mentioned above and keep an eye on their regular technology use.