As a parent, there’s nothing worse than knowing your child is hurting. When a cyberbully is the cause of that hurt, it’s perfectly natural to want to shatter your smartphone/laptop/tablet and never allow any type of social media into your home. Unfortunately, that’s not a realistic option.
If you suspect your child is being terrorized by a cyberbully there are a few things you can do that will help the situation.
Support Your Child
The first things cyberbullies do is undermine their victim’s self-confidence. They chip away at their victim’s self-esteem until there’s nothing left. As a parent, it’s up to you to keep your child’s spirits up. Remind them that they’re important and loved. Spend time with them. Encourage them to talk. Even if the conversation never turns to the cyberbully, simply knowing that you’re in their corner will help bolster your child.
Redirect Their Attention
It’s easy to tell someone who is being victimized by a cyberbully that they should simply turn off their electronics and ignore the situation. The problem is that many of the victims are oddly compelled to keep engaging with their tormentor. While you should encourage your child to stay away from their social media accounts, you’ll find that they are far more likely to follow your advice when you provide them with something else they can use to fill their time.
Whenever possible, collect evidence that show your child is being tortured by a cyberbully. The best evidence includes screenshots of photos and text conversations. Once you’ve taken the screen shots, keep them stored in a safe place. It’s always a good idea to have backup files for your proof.
Don’t Handle it on your Own
While it’s okay to reach out to the cyberbullies parents and alert them to the situation, you should never do anything that could make you come across as a bully. Don’t lash out at their child. Don’t use abusive language. Don’t make any threats. Simply request that they do something to rein in their child.
If the cyberbullies parents refuse to take any action, it’s time for you to contact both the police and the school and get them involved in the situation.