The first step in helping your teen deal with cyberharrassment is for you to be aware there is a problem. The recent article “What Parents Can Do to Help Teen Victims of Cyber Bullying” provides great tips on how to help your teen open up, and work together to end the harassment:
Have the ‘Cyber Bullying’ Conversation: Children don’t like to talk about bullying, but according to Roberts, “the reason for this is they have likely bullied themselves, been bullied or been a bullying bystander and the talk brings up these memories and feelings of shame.” Parents need to have an open conversation and respond without judgment as their children open up about what they know.
Explain How What You Don’t Know Does Hurt You: Some kids minimize or justify cyber bullying by saying that the target didn’t even know what was said. Roberts suggests explaining to your kids that it still hurts. “Use their life experiences to illustrate how badly they feel when people talk about them negatively,” she says.
Set Cyber Safety Rules: Whenever your children interact online, remind them that they never really know who is on the other end of cyber communication. With that in mind, Roberts recommends enforcing the guideline of “don’t do or say anything online that you wouldn’t do or say in person.”
Monitor Online Use: Know what your children are doing online to help them prevent cyber bullying and cope with it. Limit time spent on technology to naturally minimize access to and involvement with cyber bullying, suggests Roberts.