Cyberbullying is a continuous problem for children because it doesn’t stop once they leave school. With text messages and social-networking sites, bullies can harass their victims throughout the day and night. It is important to recognize the signs of a cyberbully and be aware of measures you can take as a parent.
According to KidsHealth.org, your child might be if they act anxious or distraught after using the Internet, if they want to discontinue using the Internet or text messages or if they avoid conversations about their Internet and cell phone activities. Kids might be scared that you will take away their cell phone or Internet privileges if they report a cyberbully, so it is important to have an open line of communication and to keep an open mind yourself when dealing with this issue. You always want your children to have confidence that they can talk to you.
As with any bullying issue, consider going to your children’s teacher or school administrator with a complaint. Also, block the bully’s access to your children’s social media pages and cell phone and encourage your youngsters to avoid responding to the bully’s taunts.
What to do if your child is the bully.
For many parents, it is hard to accept that your children are teasing someone at school or in your neighborhood. The first thing you should do is question what is sparking this disruptive behavior in your children. This usually begins with an analysis of your home. Some children who are bullies are copying behavior exhibited in their home life. Do your children get bullied by older siblings, neighbors or even parents? Are your children insecure about something? Does it make your children feel stronger when they pick on someone who is perceived as weak or different? These are all questions that a parent of a bully should be asking.
Parents need to make clear that bullying is a serious problem and will not be tolerated. Punishments should be given and they should stick so your children know that this behavior is unacceptable. In addition to punishing bad behavior, good behavior should be praised. Teach your kids the benefits of being kind and helping others. They need to know the meaning of the old adage, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
It is also important to be involved in your children’s social life. Be aware of the friends they have and of the pressures they might be facing at school. Sometimes, different social stresses can cause children to act out against their peers. Finally, you should seek help from your children’s counselor or teacher to help you gain a greater understanding of the situation and get advice to correct this bad behavior.
Rhonda Cratty has been a teacher, instructional coach and writer since 1983. Rhonda enjoys writing about ways parents can improve the quality of their children’s educational lives. She has been the National Parent & Education at Examiner.com since December 2008. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.