Bullying is often seen as an unfortunate, but natural part of adolescence. However, pediatrician Dr. Sharon Cooper warns, “Cyberbullying can affect the social, emotional, and physical health of a child.” For these reasons, it is important that parents and guardians take steps to help their child deal with and respond to cyberbullying.
- Tell your child not to respond to rude e-mails, messages, and comments.
- Save the evidence, such as e-mail and text messages, and take screenshots of comments and images. Also, take note of the date and time when the harassment occurs.
- Contact your Internet service provider (ISP) or cell phone provider. Ask the website administrator or ISP to remove any Web page created to hurt your child.
- If harassment is via e-mail, social networking sites, IM, and chat rooms, instruct your child to “block” bullies or delete your child’s current account and open a new one.
- If harrassment is via text and phone messages, change the phone number and instruct your child to only share the new number with trustworthy people. Also, check out phone features that may allow the number to be blocked.
- Get your child’s school involved. Learn the school’s policy on cyberbullying and urge administrators to take a stance against all forms of bullying.
- Make a report to www.cybertipline.com, and if you feel something illegal has occurred, inform law enforcement.