Dos and Don’ts for cyberbullying victimsWhat to do if you’ve been cyberbullied
If your child is the target of cyberbullying, they are probably feeling sad, angry, depressed or even worse. You can help them! First and foremost it is important to keep an open communication channel with them, to let them feel that they have your support and that you will work together with them to try to make the bullying stop.
Instruct your children
Here are a few relatively simple instructions you can tell your children to follow if they are being cyberbullied:
- Tell an adult you trust: you deserve all the support you can get. It’s always good to talk to a parent but if you can’t - a school counselor or even your teacher will usually be able to help you
- Save the evidence: with digital bullying the harassing messages can usually be captured, saved and shown to someone who can help, or they can be used as evidence. Keep copies of text messages, e-mails and online conversations, including relevant dates and times. It’s a good idea to print out copies
- Treat others as you would like to be treated: be decent even to those you don’t really like. Don’t “lower yourself” to their level. Also, research shows that gossiping about and trash talking others increases your risk of being bullied
- Block the bully: on your phone, e-mail or instant messaging program. If it is happening while in chat, leave the “room”
- Get a new e-mail account and/or a new mobile phone number if necessary
- Report the problem: social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace have links where you can report abuse. Use them!
- Don’t reply! The bully is expecting your response and your reaction is usually exactly what the bully wants. It gives him power over you and will most likely serve to escalate the situation. If you don’t reply, he may get bored and leave you alone
- Don’t try to get back at the bully: that’ll simply turn you into a bully and reinforce his behavior
- Don’t forward offensive messages and don’t read them: that only serves to strengthen the bully and hurts the victims
- Don’t be ashamed! You’ve done nothing wrong.