My Child is a Cyber Bully, What Should I Do?
Computers, smartphones and the internet have made it much easier for kids to engage in online activities and get away with it- cyber bullying included. It is important that you as parents become aware of your child’s online behaviour and put a stop to any undesirable activities. Here are some suggestions on what you can do if your child is a cyber bully.
- Talk to Them
Talking to your child can prevent him/her from hurting someone else further because you become an avenue for them to relieve the pain and hurt they have experienced. Being a listening ear will also encourage them to open up and help you to effectively identify the best way to support them.
- Educate Them
Children often do not realize that they are cyber bullying someone. Something as innocent as sharing a funny photograph of someone can constitute as cyber bullying if the victim is affected by the behaviour of others. Educating your child on the different forms and repercussions of cyber bullying can help them realize that their actions are damaging and should put a stop to it.
- Implement and Enforce Consequences
Your child should be aware that every action has consequences, even online. It is important to discuss expectations and rules with your child, and the consequences should they be broken. Cutting down the amount of time they can spend online or even confiscating their devices are some consequences you can consider to ensure that your child conducts appropriately online. It is important for you to enforce agreed rules in a consistent manner so that your kids understand that you take a serious view of it.
- Make Up to the Victim
If your child has bullied someone, have them make up to their victims. Apologizing for what they have done wrong is a social norm that your kids need to understand regardless of whether the incident happened online or offline. In situations where the bullies and victims do not feel comfortable meeting face-to-face, consider other ways of apology that will facilitate the communication of both parties clearing the misunderstandings between them.
- Monitor Online Activities
One of the best ways to prevent your child from engaging in cyber bullying is to keep an eye on their online activities. Using parental control software or putting their computers within your sight may reduce inappropriate actions online as your child is aware that you are paying attention to their activities online.
Acts of cyber bullying can be apparent (online shaming or posting content to embarrass a victim) or minute (isolating a victim by unfriending, liking an embarrassing photo). Parents may choose to defend their child and deny that he/she is a cyber bully, but it is good to be sensitive to what your child is doing so that such actions will not become a vicious cycle of perpetration.