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How to help stop Cyberbullying

In today’s world of everchanging technology it’s hard for parents, teachers and responsible adults to keep abreast of all the digital platforms children in their care may be using.

Cyberbullying can happen to anyone at any time. Your child may be involved in cyberbullying from being bullied, witnessing bullying or they may be the one doing the bullying. Recent statistics have shown that 45% of children have admitted to experiencing bullying online, 70% have witnessed cyberbullying, and only 2 in 10 victims will tell their parents or teachers of online attacks.shutterstock_384225016

If your child is involved with cyberbullying, you will notice a difference in their behaviour. This could be an increase or decrease in device use, they have emotional outbursts whilst using their device such as laughter, crying or anger, hiding their device when others approach them whilst they are using it, as well as becoming withdrawn, depressed and unsociable even at social events they would have previously enjoyed.

If you think your child is being bullied here’s some top tips to help you and your child deal with the situation.

Talk

First and foremost, it’s important to get your child to talk to you about the situation. If your child can open up to you, you will be able to ascertain how it started, who’s involved and what’s happening. Make sure you listen to them calmly, without judging or getting angry. They may be embarrassed about the situation and worry about how you will react and what you may think of them. Make sure you let them know that you are there to support and help them.

Broadband Controls

Your broadband provider will have filters that can be applied free of charge even if you are on a broadband deal. The filters will restrict what can be viewed online, blocking certain websites and types of content. You can also have a deactivate at night setting and block explicit search and image results.

Age Restrictions

Make sure your child is only using social media platforms that they are allowed to use. Most platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have an age restriction of 13+ but many children aged 11+ have a social media presence.

shutterstock_1148689004Do not respond

This is probably the hardest thing your child will find to do but if they are being bullied, they must not respond. Bullies are looking for a response as it makes them feel powerful and in control. Make sure they block all links to the bully so that they cannot continue to contact your child.

Evidence

Make sure you take screen shots of any harmful posts or content. Keeping a record makes it easier to track behaviours and will establish facts rather than a ‘he said, she said’ situation.

Report

You can report online bullying to the social media platform direct as they have clear policies in place for dealing with cyberbullying and removing offensive content. If it is someone from your child’s school who is doing the bullying, contact the school as they too will have clear guidelines about how cyberbullying should be handled. If your child has received physical threats, or if illegal behaviour is occurring you must report it to the police.

For further help visit the NSPCC and Bullying UK websites by following the links: https://www.bullying.co.uk/cyberbullying/

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/bullying-and-cyberbullying/