When parents and their child/teen work together, cyberbullying can often be prevented or at least minimized or blocked. Regular communication between parent and child/teen about the child/teen’s online/social media usage, coupled with regular parental monitoring of the online/social media usage, can help ensure your child/teen’s safety from cyberbullying. If your child/teen knows that he or she can report any problems to you without fear that their cell phone or tablet will be taken away or other punitive measures taken, it is much easier to catch a small problem before it mushrooms into a bigger problem.
Have rules in place for your child/teen’s online/social media usage. Know the sites they often visit and ask for access as a “friend” or “follower” so you can view their postings. Encourage your child/teen to think hard about who is allowed access to their online/social media accounts. The content provider frequently changes social media privacy settings, so be sure your child/teen realizes they need to check their own privacy setting frequently. Ask for account passwords but let your child/teen know that you would only use the passwords in an emergency. Talk with your child/teen about the importance of not sharing passwords with their friends.
Help your child/teen understand the importance of not sharing confidential information online. Though information may be posted privately by your child/teen, the recipient of the information can forward or publicly post the information to an unlimited audience. Your child/teen should understand the danger in posting private information about their friends or other people for the same reason. Once the information is sent, control of who sees the information is completely out of their hands.
If cyberbullying is occurring, advise your child/teen to never respond to the cyberbullying content. Responding will likely only encourage further cyberbullying. Advise your child/teen to never forward the cyberbullying content since, as noted above, there is no control over what happens to the content once it’s forwarded. If the cyberbullying is seriously impacting your child/teen’s self confidence, professional counseling may help.