Teach Me to Teach My Kids About Cyberbullying

The digital age has brought on a new set of digital problems for parents, including cyberbulling.

Your computer can act as a dangerous conduit of malicious content directly to your child. One of the newest and most pervasive threats to a kid of the digital age is cyberbullying. As a parent, what can you do to protect your child from cyberbullying?

Chat It Up

Discussing cyberbullying with your child is a great opportunity to discuss general cyber security protocol. Companies like LifeLock are around for a reason: your identity and personal information are inherently threatened when you participate in the digital world. LifeLock on Twitter is a solid resource in protecting your information and providing tools to protect yourself from would-be cyber criminals. Part of teaching your kid to be smart about things like cyberbullying is teaching them to be smart about how the dangers of the digital world.

Be Supportive

Cyberbullying is defined as actions that use information and communication technologies to support deliberate repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm another or others. This can include harassing messages, spreading rumors online, or hacking into someone’s account. It’s important to make it clear to your child that they should feel no shame if this is happening to them and that they should let you know so you can both address the issue.

How to Deal

Now that you know some of the general cyber security problems and what cyberbullying is, what should your kid know? Below is a list of things your child should know about how to handle cyberbullying. Take the time to review these with your child and make sure they understand the importance of addressing cyberbullying in the correct manner.

  • Don’t Respond: The bully is trying to elicit a response; by responding you’re empowering them.
  • Don’t Retaliate: Refusing to retaliate stops giving power to the bully and avoids the cycle of aggression.
  • Save the Evidence: Hopefully by not engaging the bully the harassment stops, but it’s important to save the evidence in case things escalate.
  • Talk to a Trusted Adult: Whether it’s you or another trusted adult, your kid deserves backup in this matter.
  • Block the Bully: Many digital services give you the option to block the cyberbully. Do not hesitate to use this option.
  • Be Civil: Don’t sink to the bully’s level. Plus, research shows that by gossiping and trash talking increases the likelihood of being bullied.
  • Don’t be a Bully: The golden rule still applies to the digital world. Just as in real life, treat others online how you wish to be treated.
  • Be a Friend, Not a Bystander: If your child knows of cyberbullying happening to others, they should speak out against it and work to find a solution to the problem.

Cyberbullying is an unfortunate use of new technology to harass youngsters. Parents need to talk to their kids about this topic and equip them with the skills and know-how to deal with it and ultimately stop it. By reviewing the tips above with your child and keeping the lines of communication open with them, you give your kids a better chance at avoiding the perils of cyberbullying.

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