How to recognize, prevent, and respond to cyberbullying (Part 3)

Originally posted on Reputation Defender, by Jennifer Bridges

What to do if your child is a cyberbully?

It’s hard to not overreact when you discover that your child is harassing others. But, the best way to move forward is to stay calm and make a plan of action that includes:

  • The people involved: Obviously, you and your child are on this list. Other people might include a lawyer (if the police have charged him/her with a crime), school administrators, and a counselor or therapist.
  • The consequences: While you might have some ideas for consequences, you’ll also need to take into account any consequences imposed by your child’s school or the courts.
  • How your child will “fix” it: This involves your child doing his or her best to remove the negative content that he or she posted. The next step is for your child to post messages stating that the malicious content was untrue and apologizing for posting it. You might want your child to also perform some kind of community service work if the courts do not assign it.

“Don’t overreact, either as the parent of the bully or the target. Keep a level head to avoid things getting out of hand.” — Joseph Yeager, cyber safety advocate and founder of Safety Net of PA

Cyberbullying resources

If you or your child is dealing with cyberbullying, there are a number of resources you can turn to for information. These websites are among the most popular:

  • StopBullying.gov: This website from the US Department of Health and Human Services contains helpful information about bullying and cyberbullying and explains your legal rights.
  • Cyberbullying.org: The Cyberbullying Research Center, run by Dr. Sameer Hinduja and Dr. Justin W. Patchin, offers parents, teens, educators, as well as anyone else who works with young people, a multitude of resources to help them identify, prevent, and respond to cyberbullying.
  • Stompoutbullying.org: Founded in 2005, Stomp Out Bullying aims to change the culture to reduce and prevent cyberbullying, bullying, and other digital misbehavior.
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