If your child has experienced cyberbullying by another minor, take action and find support:
- If the acts of cyberbullying include private messages, emails, or text messages, send the responsible account one message, “Stop.”
- Other than sending “stop” once, do not communicate with the child engaging in cyberbullying, or his or her parents or legal guardian.
- Instruct your child not to engage or retaliate.
- Offer your child support, and contact a mental health counselor, as needed.
- Document all incidents. Create an outline with dates, times, social networks, apps, websites, individuals involved, and known witnesses.
- If the child engaging in cyberbullying attends the same school or a school in the same district as your child:
o Contact your child’s principal and request a face-to-face meeting.
o Review the school’s anti-bullying policy. Be prepared to discuss how the policy was broken or challenges with the policy.
o Explain the situation fully. Be prepared, and bring organized printouts. Share what happened and how it has impacted your child.
o Outline your expectations.
o Listen carefully to the school’s response, and ask questions. Request specific information on how the school will handle the situation.
o Take detailed notes of the conversation, and summarize your understanding of the meeting and next steps.
o Follow up with the principal to ensure steps are carried out, and inform the school of additional incidents.
o Obtain copies of all documentation and reports.
o Follow up with your child to see if the cyberbullying has stopped.
o If the cyberbullying continues, consider contacting the school board, superintendent of schools, board of education, state or federal authorities, or law enforcement.
- If the child engaging in cyberbullying does not attend the same school or a school in your child’s district, contact local law enforcement.
- If your child is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. Otherwise, if the cyberbullying includes threats of violence, contact your precinct or village police.
- Block the account(s) of the child engaging in cyberbullying on all social networks, apps, and other sites in which your child is active.
- Report abusive content to social networks, apps, and other sites.
- Consider blocking mutual acquaintances of the child engaging in cyberbullying.
- Make sure your child does not share private information online.
- Do not publicly post information and photos of your child. Change your settings to ensure your posts are private, for connections or friends only.
- Set up alerts to inform you if content about your child is posted online at google.com/alerts.
- Find support to help prepare you to work with law enforcement or navigate the judicial process, if necessary.
- Consider contacting an attorney to explain relevant laws where you reside; advocate on your behalf with law enforcement, the school, or organizations; consider issuing a cease and desist order; or assist with defamatory content removal.
- Avoid using labels like “bully,” “cyberbully,” or “victim,” when discussing incidents with your child.
You also can reach out to the following resources with or without your child:
Stomp Out Bullying HelpChat Line
StopBullying.gov Get Help Now
Ditch The Label Removal of Abusive Content on Social Media
"Take Action When Your Child Experiences Cyberbullying" was originally published on Patch — Across New York on June 6, 2018.