Dealing with cyberbullying: Tips for parents
Children love to be online, but not everyone behaves nicely there! Here are some tips, inspired by our partner UNICEF, to help you and your children recognize and prevent cyberbullying
Know the difference between joking and bullying
There’s a fine line between having fun and being hurtful, especially online. If a child feels hurt, or thinks others are laughing at them instead of with them, the joke’s gone too far
Ask them to stop
If a child is not happy about something online, they shouldn’t have to stand for it. The first step is simply to ask someone to stop. It might be enough, and if it works, that’s great!
If it doesn’t stop, it’s bullying
If negative behavior continues after a polite request to stop, then it’s bullying and needs to be addressed. Everyone deserves respect, online and in real life.
Get them talking…
Make it clear how important it is to talk. Tell them they’re welcome to seek help from someone they trust – you, another family member, or perhaps a teacher or counsellor at school. If your child is not comfortable talking to someone they know, search for a helpline to talk to a professional counsellor.
Use anti-bullying tools
Social platforms offer tools to restrict who can view and comment on posts, or connect as a friend, and simple steps to block, mute or report cyberbullying. Many platforms also provide educational tools and guidance about staying safe online.
If can be helpful to collect evidence like text messages and screen shots of social media posts to show what’s been going on.
Reporting is important
Bullying needs to be identified before it can be stopped. Reporting it can help to show the bully that their behavior is unacceptable. And if you feel your child is in immediate danger, contact the police or emergency services.
Encourage positive social values
The first line of defense against cyberbullying could be your child. Talk to them about how their behavior could affect others. Encourage them to be kind and respectful because a little ‘give and take’ can go a long way.
Think twice before posting personal information
Tell children that personal details, photos and video may stay online forever and can be used to harm, manipulate or humiliate on social media. Remind kids not to give out their address, telephone number or the name of their school and to check the privacy settings of their social apps.
Support friends, gently…
If your child’s friend is being bullied, try to offer support. If they’re reluctant to report it, listen to why that is, and let them know it’s important to talk to someone who can help. In certain situations, cyberbullying can be life threatening. Your words and support can make a real difference.
Cyberbullying Q & A with UNICEF
We want to inspire parents and care-givers to start a conversation with their kids about cyberbullying. Watch the video from our ’Live Build and Talk’ session where an expert from UNICEF answered people’s burning questions about cyberbullying, over some LEGO building. Hosted by LEGO Masters judges Matthew Ashton and Amy Corbett.