How can you tell if your child is the victim of on-line harassment? There might be an issue with cyberbullying if your child:
- looks nervous or agitated when on computer, and quickly exits when someone walks by
- out of nowhere, "loses interest" in the computer, and avoids discussion about it, or suddenly starts spending more time on-line(reading what's been posting, searching for more postings, etc.)
- is upset after using computer
- is emptying history folder after being on-line and attempting to hide browsing history
- suffers sleeping disturbances or mood swings
- has a change in eating habits
- engages in anti-social behaviour, including withdrawing from friends and family
- is preoccupied with self harm
- has physical symptoms such as nausea or headache
- has a change for the worse in school grades
What you can do:
- Educate your child: a) don't reveal personal information; b) don't say anything on-line that you might want to take back (sleep on it before you post it); c) don't post when you're angry; d) don't respond or retaliate to attacks. Don't engage in the conflict, or give the bully any more fuel.
- Talk to them about the real reason kids bully: because the bullies themselves are unhappy, and it very seldom has to do with the victim.
- Use technology to block the bully.
- Participate in your child's on-line life: the more information you have about what he/she is doing on line, the better equipped you will be to help.
- Teach your child to save the evidence.
- Don't take away internet time - this may prevent disclosure from your child ("if I tell, they won't let me on-line anymore"). Instead, teach your child to come to you for help.
- Keep the computer in a central room (do not allow internet in an unsupervised area).