Cyberbullying happens 24/7. There is no escape! The effect on a teen's mental health can be devastating. Unfortunately it can also be hard for a parent to recognize, therefore having the conversation early and letting them know that you are always there for them to talk to, is extremely important.
Your teen may have a hard time coming to you since they feel like you wouldn't understand. To their defense, the environment with the internet and social media is completely different from when you were their age. But even so, your child needs you now more than ever if they are being attacked by a cyberbully.
Create a safe, approachable, non-shaming environment for your teen. Let them know that you love them and are always there for them.
Here is a helpful article and recap from Crosswalk on 8 Ways To Protect Your Children from Cyberbullying. We suggest you read the article for more information.
8 Tips To Help Protect Your Teen From Cyberbullying
- Talk to your teen about doing their best not to give the bully any further attention; this may be hard so have them update you regularly on what is going on!
- Build a barrier (block bullies on your social accounts); social media platforms have blocks-check them out!
- Keep records of offending content; keep all pictures, texts, messages, emails
- Protect and update passwords
- Report the event; you can report it to the school, your local police as well as the social media platforms
- 'Follow' or pay attention to your child's social accounts; avoid put your head in the sand and be aware of any "fake" accounts they may have created
- Be there for your child--always, no matter what!
- Find effective ways to handle any bullying situation; for instance, perhaps they need therapy to deal with the trauma from being bullied or a meeting with the school or police needs to be scheduled to address and report the matter? Does a meeting with the school need to happen to ensure they are safe?
Knowing there are solutions to protect your teen if in the unlikely event they are ever cyber-bullied will help both them and you feel safe. Remember, your teen deserves love and these are huge ways to ensure they feel that from you!