Cyber bullying can be random, but it often originates with someone the victim knows in real life. Children and adolescents are the most common targets. Everyone knows the best way to respond to a bully is not at all, but it can be difficult to avoid the temptation to defend oneself. If you know or suspect that your child has become a target, here are some tips.
- Talk to him about how he feels. The bullying may be bothering him more than you realise, or maybe it's not bothering him much at all. If he is able to handle the bullying on his own, let him, but keep an eye on him to make sure he's coping and the bullying is not becoming a real threat.
- Tell her to just delete the messages right away, and not read them. Offer to screen her emails for her if she has trouble with this.
- If he sees the bullies in real life, tell him not to bring it up or act like the messages bothered him.
- Talk to her about how she wants to deal with it. She may want to wait a while to see if it stops, or she may want you to contact the bully's parents right away. Respect her wishes as much as it's reasonable to do so. If the bullying becomes serious, and especially if there are physical threats, bring in parents and school officials right away.
- Remember that a bully's parents might not have the same philosophies you do. If they don't seem concerned about their child's behavior, don't depend on them to control the child. Hopefully, school officials will be able to step in at this point.
- If your child has emotional, social, or mental problems, take extra care to make sure she is able to interact with her peers in a healthy way.
Cyber bullying is pointless and cruel, but as long as the internet exists, it will likely remain a widespread problem. Helping your children develop the coping skills they need will serve them well in school, and as adults in this dog-eat-dog world.
Do you agree cyber-bullying is on the increase? What is your experience?