Like any form of bullying, cyberbullying can be horrible and hard to talk about. Children need protection online as much as they do in the real world, and Natterhub can support you in keeping your children safe!
What does cyberbullying look like?
Just like ‘real-world’ bullying, cyberbullying can come from people we don’t know, or it can happen when friendships start to sour and lead to negative feelings. It can include:
- Threatening or encouraging harm
- Rejection/exclusion from events, photos, games, etc.
- Public embarrassment or shaming
Is your child being cyberbullied?
It can be especially difficult to tell when a child is being cyberbullied since it all takes place on a screen, but there are things you can watch out for:
- Is your child spending less time online?
- Have you noticed any sudden changes in behaviour? Do they seem angry or low?
- Is your child reluctant to go to school or take part in usual social activities?
- Does your child avoid talking about what they do online or who they talk to?
- Are they eating or sleeping less than usual?
- Are they bullying other children?
What can you do to help your child?
If you suspect your child is being cyberbullied, or they come to you and say they are, here are 10 simple rules for you to follow:
We know it can be hard to find out your child is being bullied, but being stressed out will only stress them out more. Just let them know that you’re there to listen and help them deal with the issue. Tell your child to try not to react to the bully, as this can often make it worse.
Take it seriously
Bullying (including cyberbullying) is usually something that’s repeated often, but don’t dismiss something because it was “just a one-off”. If your child is telling you about it, it obviously had an impact on them.
Ask open questions
Get your child to describe what happened and how it made them feel. Give them some options for what to do next, and see what they feel comfortable with.
Explore their digital habits
Be sure you understand where the cyberbullying is happening! If you’re familiar with the apps and games your child uses regularly, it’s easier to talk through these issues with them.
Set up parental controls
Make sure privacy settings are enabled on your child’s devices, so they can’t be harassed by strangers. Our Online Safety Guide can help with this!
Unfriend, block and report
Make sure your child knows how to unfriend or block users who bully them online, and where they can report any bullying behaviour.
Know when to get others involved
If the bullying is particularly serious or has been going on for a long time, you might need to go to your child’s teachers for help. Remember, it’s OK not to have all the answers!
Keep any evidence
If your child receives any messages or images from a cyberbully, make a copy of them. This can be useful if you need to talk to somebody at school.
Don’t stop talking!
Even when you think the issue is over, don’t stop talking about it. Check in with them regularly to see how they’re doing, and ask their teachers how they’re getting on at school.
Do something positive!
Bullying can be a huge knock to a child’s confidence, so do things to help them feel good! Try some fun family activities, or give them a chance to show off their skills and boost their self-esteem!
Need More Help?
Here are some other organisations that can provide support:
Kidscape is a charity with a wonderful parent advice line Family Lives is full of confidential bullying advice for parents Mind is a great mental health charity. You can find loads of bullying advice on the NSPCC website, or call them on 0808 800 5000.