No one wants to see their child become the victim of a bully. “Cyberbullies” are bullies who act on social media platforms over text or apps using digital communications. Because they are acting online, in areas many parents cannot observe, cyberbullies can be difficult to detect. In many cases parents must depend on their children to confide in them about a cyberbully.
If you want your kids to come to you when they are being cyber-bullied, it is important to lay the groundwork for trust. Start by showing positive interest in your child’s phone activities. Notice when they laugh or smile at something on their phone. Ask what they are enjoying. This similar to asking about a movie or TV show they appreciate.
Address fears you kids might have, fears that would keep them from telling you about a cyber-bully. These fears can include:
- Fear that that you will take away their phone.
- Fear that you will charge in without consulting them and actually make the situation worse.
- Fear that they will be punished or blamed if they have already broken your rules regarding social media and digital communications.
If you assure your kids that these fears are unfounded, you have a better chance of gaining their trust, so they can turn to you when they experience cyberbullying. Just be sure to stick to your promises. Don’t take away the phone, rush in to “handle” the situation or punish your child for their use of social media. If you don’t keep your word, you may not be trusted the next time a cyberbully comes along.