Cyber-Bullying: Tips to Pass on to Your Kids
With many school buildings still shut down, experts say children are more vulnerable online than ever. After all, the vast majority of their contact with peers is virtual.
This leaves the door wide open for cyber-bullying. Pass these tips from educators and other experts on to your kids:
Don’t respond. If someone bullies you, remember that your reaction is exactly what they want; it gives them power over you. Who wants to empower a bully?
Save the evidence. The only good news about online bullying is that the harassing messages can usually be saved, and shown to someone who can help. You need to do this even if it’s minor stuff, in case things escalate.
Don’t retaliate. Getting back at the bully turns you into one and reinforces the bully’s behavior. Help avoid a whole cycle of aggression.
Talk to a trusted adult. It’s always good to involve a parent, but if you can’t, school counselors know how to help. Sometimes both are needed.
Block the bully. If the harassment’s coming in the form of instant messages, texts, or profile comments, block the person. If it’s in chat, leave the chatroom.
Be civil. Even if you don’t like someone, don’t sink to their level. Plus, research shows that gossiping about others increases your risk of being bullied. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
Don’t be a bully. How would you feel if someone harassed you? You know the old saying about walking a mile in someone’s shoes; even a few seconds of thinking about how another person might feel can put a big damper on aggression.
Be a friend, not a bystander. Watching or forwarding mean messages empowers bullies and hurts victims even more. If you can, tell bullies to stop or let them know harassment makes people look stupid and mean.
© National Security Institute, Inc. www.nsi.org
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