It is difficult to say exactly how common cyberbullying is among children, as each study measures cyber bullying differently. The definition of what is considered cyberbullying also varies. Something certain is that all online children are at risk of cyberbullying.
Some children are more vulnerable to cyberbullying than others, which occurs more frequently to girls, disabled children, LGBTQ and obese.
Fortunately, some companies are changing their policies to try to reduce online harassment. Instagram allows its users to eliminate unwanted comments in their posts. Also, Twitter is developing a tool that allows you to filter negative words. If you are looking for bullying prevention, it is advisable to know about bullying laws.
It is never too early to talk with your children about cyberbullying and teach them to be good digital citizens. Whether your child is a victim, witness or even the aggressor, talk to him about what he can do to change this situation.
What can I tell my son if he is being a victim of cyberbullying?
Many times children do not understand the difference between jokes and bullying. In other cases, children may feel ashamed to discuss the issue with their parents.
For these reasons, it is important to talk with children about their behavior on the internet before they start interacting with others through their cell phones, tablet or computer. Share the steps below that your children can take immediately if you know they have been victims of cyberbullying or to prepare them regarding the issue:
- Turn off the computer: Ignore the attacks and stay away from the cyberbully.
- Do not answer or take revenge: If you are upset or hurt, you can say things that you regret later. Many times cyberbullies are looking for a strong reaction, so don't follow their plans.
- Block the bully: If you receive malicious messages through a chat-like Whatsapp or a social network like Facebook or Twitter, remove them from your friends/followers list. You can also delete messages from bullies without reading them.
- Save and print the messages of the bullies: If the harassment continues, keep the evidence. This may be important to have a test for parents and teachers if cyber bullying continues.
- Tell a trusted adult: A trusted adult is someone you think will listen to you and has the capacity, desire, and authority to help you. Telling the situation to an adult is not gossiping, it means that you are taking care of your well-being, and even if it happens online, surely your school has rules against cyberbullying.