Addressing Cyberbullying at Home
It is recommended that parents and caregivers supervise their children’s online activities and know how to help children deal with cyberbullying and other issues.
Parents should be knowledgeable about current technologies and establish clear expectations for technology usage and safety.
Parents should teach children:
- Not to give out personal information online
- Not to share their personal password with anyone other than their parents
- Not to join in when they witness online cruelty
- Not to forward hurtful messages or pictures to others
It is important to note that the bystander dynamic that plays a role in face-to-face bullying is also present in instances of cyberbullying.
Just as parents monitor their children’s face-to-face relationships and behavior, parents should make it clear to children that their online relationships and behavior will be monitored. In addition to keeping computers in public areas of the home, parents may use tools to limit or monitor their children’s online contacts.
Many Internet service providers and cell phone companies offer services that support online supervision. In addition, parents may purchase software that monitors or blocks social network activities (e.g., WebWatcher, SafetyWeb, Net Nanny, etc.).
When issues emerge online, parents should discuss these issues with their children and assist them in developing appropriate responses.
Parents should strive to establish routine and ongoing communication and adopt a problem-solving approach to assisting children in dealing with online challenges. While setting limits around technology usage can be helpful, banning children from technology is not recommended. This may actually encourage children to hide their online lives from their parents.