Combatting Cyberbullying: A Comprehensive Guide for Parents
Family & Internet Blog | MATE | 17 October 2023
In the age of digital connectivity, ensuring our children’s safety from online threats like cyberbullying is paramount. As a trusted Australian Internet Service Provider, we’re dedicated to equipping parents with the knowledge and tools to protect their children from online bullying.
Cyberbullying is the act of using online platforms to seriously humiliate, harass, intimidate, or threaten a child or young person under the age of 18. This can manifest in various forms, such as sending abusive messages, sharing hurtful images or videos, spreading malicious gossip, or even creating fake accounts to deceive or embarrass someone.
Signs Your Child Might Be a Victim
Children may not always vocalise their struggles with cyberbullying. However, certain behavioural changes can indicate they’re facing online harassment:
- Distress after using the internet or mobile phone
- Withdrawal, anxiety, sadness, or anger
- Changes in friendship groups
- Decline in academic performance
- Altered sleep patterns
- Avoidance of school or extracurricular activities
- Decline in physical health
- Secrecy about online activities
Steps to Address Cyberbullying
- Engage in Open Dialogue: Foster a non-judgmental environment where your child feels comfortable discussing their online experiences.
- Collect Evidence: Before deleting any abusive content, take screenshots and note down dates and times. This evidence can be crucial for reporting and addressing the issue.
- Report the Abuse: Many online platforms have mechanisms to report cyberbullying. If the platform doesn’t take action, consider reporting to external bodies like eSafety.
- Prevent Further Contact: Advise your child not to retaliate. Use in-app functions to block or mute the bully. Review and tighten privacy settings.
- Seek Support: If the cyberbullying is severe, consider reaching out to your child’s school or counselling services for assistance.
Supporting Your Child
Encourage positive connections and coping strategies. Engage them in activities outside the digital realm, reminding them of their worth and fostering resilience. Regularly check in on their well-being and seek professional help if needed.