Updated: Jul 25, 2022
Before the Information Age, bullies were relatively limited in their ability to harass their victims. Incidents largely took place at school or in other public places, and generally weren’t recorded on video for posterity, much less easily disseminated to large groups of people for added shaming. Today, bullying can reach kids anywhere they are, as long as they’re on a computer, phone, mobile device, or gaming console—and it can do more social and emotional harm. Here’s what cyberbullying is and how you should respond if your child becomes a victim.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying means using technology to stalk, harass, threaten, humiliate, or otherwise intimidate a person. This occurs frequently on social media and other messaging platforms that kids access from a mobile device, with Instagram being one of the most common apps where bullying takes place.
How To Deal With Cyberbullying
As with so many other problems, preventing cyberbullying is the best way to protect your child. However, if that doesn’t work, here’s what you can do if you discover that your child is being bullied.
Don’t respond or retaliate. Cyberbullies often feel satisfaction from the response they get from their victims, or they may decide to escalate the situation if you or your child responds. Retaliation can make a case against the victim and should always be avoided.
Document the behavior. Keep and organize proof of cyberbullying by using screenshots and printouts to preserve emails, text messages, and any other form of communication. Note the times and dates that these occurred, as well as the phone number, email address, gaming or social media handle, and any other information that identifies the cyberbully.
Block the cyberbully. Block the bully on your child’s phone, computer, social media, and gaming console.
Report the bully to relevant service providers. Cyberbullying violates the terms of agreement of many messaging services, so reporting this violation may lead to getting the bully removed from the service.
Report the bully to their school. Some schools are required to investigate off-campus bullying and may choose to take action against this behavior.
In some cases, report the bully to law enforcement. This is a necessary step whenever bullying constitutes a crime, such as making violent threats, sending explicit photos, stalking, or engaging in hate activity based on the victim’s race, ethnicity, orientation, or other demographic factors.
Teach Kids Healthy Tech Use With Net Positive
The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens and leaders. We accomplish this by providing evidence-based programs with a focus on those that improve academic engagement, build character, and that improve healthy behaviors.
Our Net Positive Program educates K-12 students about digital safety, health, citizenship and leadership. After participating in our program, students are 97% better prepared to face internet dangers. Contact us to learn more and ask your school to schedule a Net Positive Presentation, or support us with your donation today!
Complete Guide to Preventing Cyberbullying. (2022, June 7). Ohio University. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://onlinemasters.ohio.edu/online-msw-program/complete-guide-to-preventing-cyberbullying/
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