How to Have Conversations About Bullying
Dr. Fisher noted that in addition to internet safety, cyberbullying can also be an issue for children.
“When bullying happens on social media, it can be harder for parents, teachers and others to be aware of it,” she said.
The AAP notes that cyberbullying can occur through text messaging, social media sites, apps, email, web forums, or multiplayer online games. This may involve:
- Sending mean text messages
- Sharing embarrassing photos
- Inventing and spreading false stories
- Telling others to ignore someone or exclude them from activities
“The difficult problem with cyberbullying is that it can happen anywhere, anytime, at any time of the day, it’s anonymous, and it can spread quickly,” said Dr Fisher. “It can contribute to physical and mental health problems and academic difficulties. Bullying of any kind should not be tolerated and should be dealt with promptly.
The AAP offers this advice to parents of children who are cyberbullied:
- Don’t punish your child. Don’t threaten to take away your child’s device or reduce their online time. They may see it as a punishment and be less willing to talk to you about bullying situations in the future.
- If there is online evidence, save a screenshot. This can be useful if it becomes necessary to report the event.
- Talk with your child about the experience. Studies show that having only one person listen and support kids who are being bullied helps them deal better with the situation in a healthy way.
- Most social media platforms have a process for reporting bad behavior. If a classmate is bullying you, you can report it to the school. If the bullying involves threats of physical harm, you may consider reporting it to the police.
- A child’s bullying experience can also be stressful for a parent. Parents should consider finding someone to talk to for help. Talk to your pediatrician about resources for dealing with bullying.
- If a child is bullying or witnesses bullying, prompt action should also be taken.
“Make sure your child knows that bullying is never okay,” Dr. Fisher said. “Be a positive role model in person and online. Show them how to have empathy for others. If necessary, work out solutions with your child’s school principal, teachers, social workers or psychologists, and parents of children your child has bullied.
Dr. Fisher noted that children need to learn to deal with their aggressive feelings in a way that doesn’t threaten others.
“Monitoring our children’s online lives is an important responsibility,” she said. “Open lines of communication about a child’s activity can be a great way to build an even stronger bond between parent and child and build trust, and they are extremely valuable relationship assets. ”