What to Do after Online Bullying: A Guide for Parents
If your child has been the victim of an online bully, there are some steps you can take to ease the aftermath. Cyberbullying has become increasingly common in today’s society, and it may be hard to protect your child from online bullying. Here are some tips to help your child in this difficult time.
Learn Everything You Can about the Attack
If you notice the bullying or your child brings it up to you, talk about it. Find out when it started, who is doing it, what it is in reference to, what platform it is occurring on, etc. Here are some sample questions to ask:
- Does this person go to your child’s school or have access to your child in person?
- Is this an isolated incident, or are there others like it?
- Does this involve more than one person?
- Has your child already tried to stop it?
- How has this affected your child physically, mentally and emotionally?
- Who is the bully? (Someone your child knows, a friend, a peer…?)
Learn all the details so you can take the appropriate actions.
Take Photos/Screenshots of the Bullying Incidents
You should maintain a record of the bullying in case you need to reference it later on. For instance, if you have to report the incident to the child’s school or the police, you will want to have evidence supporting your claim. Take screenshots or photos of the conversations. Print them off the computer or create multiple digital copies on several sources. The digital copies will have timestamps to better track the incident.
Block the Bully from Contacting Your Child
After gathering the evidence, block the bully from speaking to your child. Block the phone number or social media accounts(s)? he or she is using to communicate. This alone may be effective enough to stop the incidents from continuing in the future.
Take Action to Protect Your Child in Person (Contact Parents, School, Etc.)
If the bully has access to your school in person, you may need to take additional steps to protect your child. This could include speaking to the school, the leader of an organization, the bully’s parents, the bus driver, or even the police. If this is an incident between two children, try to contact the other parents first.
Monitor Your Child’s Online Activity Moving forward
You may need to limit your child’s time online for a while after the incident. Find alternative activities to keep his or her mind occupied, and this will seem less like punishment. If you have access to your child’s social media accounts, check them at least once a day to watch for suspicious activity. Maintain a strong flow of communication with your child so that if another situation occurs, he or she will feel comfortable discussing it.
Work with a Family Counselor to Resolve Side Effects of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying can lead to depression, low self-esteem, self-harm, academic struggles, and more. A child counselor or family counselor can help your child work through these emotions. Child counseling is a completely personalized process. Your child will get advice designed specifically for his or her experiences and lifestyle.
For more information about child counseling in Wisconsin, contact Sherman Counseling at 920-733-2065.