Cyber-bullying is, unfortuately, becoming a prominent feature in the lives of our tweens and teens. And as the internet becomes more readily available – smart phones, laptops, iPads – the risks of online bullying happening increases.
If you suspect or are certain that your child is a victim, there are certain things you should do.
Look out for the signs
If you only suspect your child is being bullied, you need to take a keen interest in their behaviour to figure out for certain. The following signs are indications that your son or daughter might be being bullied: they become edgy when their phone beeps, they appear nervous or withdrawn after spending time online, they don’t want to go out or hang around with their friends and refuse to let you see what they are doing on the computer or phone.
Cyber-bullying is harder to escape from as your child can still be victimised when at home. So you need to be supportive at all times. Listen to their fears but don’t ban them from using the internet. This can backfire on you as your little one will then start to hide any problems for fear you will restrict access. Ask them what they want to do and just be there for them. Knowing they have you to turn to will be a huge helping hand.
Once your child opens up about being bullied, you need to spring into action. Make sure your teen or tween doesn’t reply to any nasty comments or threats and get a screen grab of anything on the computer or on your child’s phone. Depending on how explicit or threatening the messages are, you will need the evidence if you want to report it to the police.
Talk to the school
Make sure the school is aware of what is happening. As soon as you know the full story, ring the school of the pupils involved and arrange a meeting with the principal. Talk to them about what is happening and show them your evidence. Let them know that you want them to do something. They should be have procedures in place to deal with this type of thing. And any forms of harassment or threats should be reported to the police.