Cyberbullying: Tips for parents
Help kids be smart online (and keep your cool!)
When cyberbullying occurs, it's common to feel angry about what's happening and protective toward your children. But keeping your calm will help children to do the same, and can defuse the situation more effectively than going on the attack yourself.
Watch, listen, learn and communicate. Be aware of what your children are doing online and listen to any concerns they might have. Try to learn about the technologies they're using, and set clear rules about what's appropriate.
If you know or suspect your children are being cyberbullied, take quick action by documenting the cyberbullying and letting your kids know that bullying isn't their fault, and that together, you can work it out.
Contact law enforcement if the bullying involves criminal behavior such as violent threats, pornography or sexting, invasion of privacy, stalking or hate crimes, or extortion. Some cyberbullying activities meet the standards for civil action, which means an attorney can be brought in, but this should be a last resort.
Be persistent while remaining sensitive to your child's feelings. While an adult at home is still a kid's best bet at solving the problem, it only worked 34 percent of the time, according to a landmark study from the Youth Voice Project. So experts say do your homework before jumping to conclusions and possibly making matters worse.
If you suspect your child may be a victim of cyberbullying, contact me to discuss your legal rights.