If your child is the victim of cyberbullying, you have a few questions to ask yourself and figure out:
1. How far has the bullying gone?
2. Is this something that can be handled by your child changing their behavior, such as not communicating with the bully or blocking the bully?
3. Where do I report the bullying?
Chances are that if you are noticing changes in the behavior of your child and/or they have come to you for help, the bullying has gotten past just behavior modifications being able to help the situation.
However, talk to your child and see what they have done in response and ask if they have any proof such as emails or chat history. This is not to catch them at fault; this is simply to document what is happening. If you think your child is at risk for physical harm, call the police immediately.
– If the bullying took place on a website, report the abuse to that site. Remind them of how to block a person from contacting them online. (if you don’t know how to block a person, check with the service i.e. chat, social network, etc for specific instructions)
– If they have had their email or “page” hacked, have your child change their passwords. Getting some of your child’s friends together and encourage them to “have each other’s back” – bullies are less likely to target kids with friends.
– If your child changes their behavior in response to the bullying and the cyberbullying continues, the problem needs to be documented for further intervention. This can be as simple as teaching your child to screen capture and print (ctrl + print screen button, then open Word and paste) or you can install a program on your computer that will document the cyberbullying for you. Keep an electronic and a printed copy for your records.
– I use McAfee Family Protection on our family computer at all times. Not only does it allow me to block certain users from contacting my kids via email and chat, but it also keeps an eye out for certain potential bully-like situations and records chat and email in case I need to turn it over to the authorities.
This is a difficult time for your child. Let them know that they are not at fault. No personal characteristic or flaw is the cause of the bullying and “tattling” doesn’t make them weak.
Stay safe out there!