Cyberbullying: How parents can help prevent it

Parents should talk to their kids about cyberbullying.

Parents should talk to their kids about cyberbullying.

In the last post about cyberbullying, we focused on how it impacts kids and how one group of students launched an awareness campaign about the problem. But teenagers need guidance. Parents are an important part of cutting back on cyberbullying.

A recent survey found that many believe (66 percent) that parents should monitor their kids’ internet use. The survey also found that currently, about 52 percent of parents with children ages 10 to 18 check what their kids are doing online at least once a week. That means that a lot of kids are unsupervised most or all of the time.

One cybersecurity website recommended that parents get much more involved in what their kids are doing online. Because cyberbullying is often a group activity and influenced by peers, even well-adjusted kids can be pressured into doing it. Victims of cyberbullying may feel too ashamed to bring up the problem with their parents. All of this makes it even more important to talk to your kids and monitor what they’re doing online.

Signs that cyberbullying is occurring
There are a few things parents can look for that might indicate their child is involved in cyberbullying: Being intolerant of others, getting excited about conflict, using mobile devices or computers often, signing up for a variety of different social media accounts, not wanting to talk about what they’re doing online and/or closing or minimizing browser windows when parents walk into a room.

There are also signs that a child may be the victim of cyberbullying:

  • Uses computer or smartphone less frequently than they used to
  • Nervous when text messages, emails or notifications arrive
  • Appears to be upset or angry after using computer or smartphone
  • Doesn’t want to talk about what they’re doing on the computer
  • Says often feels sick or doesn’t want to go to school
  • Withdraws from family and friends

How should parents deal with cyberbullying?
One of the best ways that parents can deal with the problem is to confront it head-on. If you suspect that your child may be a victim or bully, talk to them about your concerns. All parents should also talk to their kids about how to behave online: How to communicate politely, what isn’t appropriate and how to deal with cyberbullying if it happens or if kids see it happening.

For more information about ways to talk about and deal with the problem, check out Carnegie Mellon University’s cybersecurity website. Ultimately, each time bullying occurs, it needs to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis to make sure that kids are being supported and the problem stops. Parents need to be involved to make sure their kids are safe and respectful while they’re online.

Can you recommend other ways that parents can help stop cyberbullying? Please share your thoughts with us below!

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.