According to a recent survey, 52% of children and teens have been cyberbullied online. Could your child be a victim of cyberbullying? It turns out, you may never know, since over half of the young people surveyed admitted they do not tell their parents they are being cyberbullied.
Kids are greatly affected by cyberbullying. In fact, victims often report feelings of depression or anxiety, isolation, or hopelessness. To protect your teen, it’s important to make cyberbullying a topic of conversation in your home. How can you talk to your teens about cyberbullying? Follow these tips:
Show Your Support
Teens need your support when they are being cyberbullied, so make sure they know they have it. Don’t use the old “sticks and stones may break your bones” argument, because this will make teens think the emotions they are feeling are not valid. Instead, let your child know you are on her team and together you will find a way to prevent this from happening again. You should also praise your child for having the courage to open up about cyberbullying. This is a very sensitive subject, so make your teen feel as comfortable as possible talking about it with you.
Talk About Why People Bully Others
Your teen’s self-esteem may suffer as a result of cyberbullying. Teens may feel they are victims because they aren’t attractive or popular enough, but it’s your job to let them know this is not the case. Teach your teens why bullies feel the need to attack others. People usually begin to bully others when they feel insecure or unhappy with something in their own lives. Understanding this will help your teen realize it’s not about him or her, it’s about the bully’s own personal issues.
Connect With Other Adults
Let teens know there are a number of different adults they can turn to if they ever need protection from cyberbullying, including teachers, parents, family friends, and guidance counselors. Teens should never be scared to parental control, so it may be helpful to arrange a meeting with your teen’s guidance counselor at school. Once your teen sees how supportive the guidance counselor is, he or she will feel less alone in the fight against cyberbullying.
Finally, teach teens how they can fight cyberbullying on their own with a little help from this infographic: