Bullying has been around since we were kids and hasn’t gone anywhere. In our time bullying may have happened at school but ended when we got home. With social media and cell phones cyber bullying can happen in your child’s home at any moment. If we don’t understand the problem with cyberbulling or see it happen it can be difficult to protect your child. More often than not parents are the last ones to know about bullying because kids often feel they will get in trouble thinking it is their fault.
At St. Joe’s we work with children and families experiencing bullying and how to prevent or stop cyberbullying as well as get children therapy or other services to overcome the trauma they have experienced.
PARENTS ACTIONS TO PREVENT AND PROTECT AGAINST CYBERBULLYING
1. Keep the computer in a common area of the home. Do not allow it in your children’s bedrooms. Monitor their online usage.
2. Learn how various social networking websites work. Become familiar with Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. Ask your children if they will show you their profile pages. In today’s generation Twitter and Snapchat seem to be the favorites (for now).
3. Talk regularly and specifically with your children about online issues. Let them know they can come to you for help if anything is inappropriate, upsetting, or dangerous.
4. Build trust with your children. Set time limits, explain your reasons for them, and discuss rules for online safety and Internet use. Ask your children to contribute to establishing the rules; then they’ll be more inclined to follow them.
5. Tell your children not to respond to any cyberbullying threats or comments online. However, do not delete any of the messages. Instead, print out all the messages, including the e-mail addresses or online screen names of the cyberbully. You will need the messages to verify and prove there is cyberbullying.
6. Don’t overreact by blaming your children. If they are being bullied, be supportive and understanding. Find out how long the bullying has been going on and ensure that you’ll work together to find a solution. Let your children know they are not to blame for being bullied.
7. Don’t underreact by telling your children to “shrug it off” or just deal with the bullying. The emotional pain of being bullied is very real and can have long-lasting effects. Don’t tease them about it or respond with a “kids will be kids” attitude.
8. Don’t threaten to take away your children’s computers if they come to you with a problem. This only forces kids to be more secretive.
9. Talk to your school’s guidance counselors so they can keep an eye out for bullying during the school day.
10. If there are threats of physical violence or the bullying continues to escalate, get law enforcement involved.
11. If you notice different behaviors in your child consider reaching out for a Diagnostic Assessment to see if your child should be considered for therapy at a place like St. Joe’s
KIDS ACTION STEPS TO CYBERBULLYING
1. Don’t respond to any online or text messages sent by cyberbullies.
2. Don’t be an accomplice by forwarding any of the messages to others kids.
3. Save and print out all the messages as proof and evidence of cyberbullying.
4. If you are being bullied, tell an adult immediately to get help solving the problem.
WHAT CAN SCHOOLS DO?
1. Adopt a zero-tolerance policy for all types of bullying. Make it clear that any intimidation, harassment, or threatening behavior will be dealt with swiftly and seriously.
2. School districts should have anti-bullying policies in place and everyone (school administrators, teachers parents, and students) should be aware of the policies at the start of every school year.
3. Incorporate Internet Safety Awareness classes into the curriculum.
4. Engage students, parents, and teachers in discussions about bullying prevention. Have student councils or student panels address the issue to their peers at school-wide assemblies, PTA meetings, and other school-wide events. Get everyone involved!
5. Partner with an agency to address cases that have already occurred to align students with ongoing therapy as effects can carry out into long term PTSD or other issues into their adult lives. Contact Mykish.Summers@SJOkids.org to learn more.
Take The Pledge Against Bullying!