The statistics on cyberbullying are sobering, and the tragic stories about the victims of this online evil are even more unsettling. Although, ideally, parents will take steps to prevent their kids from ever being bullied on the Web, cyberbullying is a reality. So, what do you do if it happens to your child? Here are some strategies for putting a stop to the bullying and minimizing the damage that’s been done to your child’s self-esteem.
### Talk to your child
The first step is to talk to your child about what happened. Let them know that they can be open with you and that you’re there to help. Be there for them if they need to cry or otherwise express their feelings. Most importantly, though, let them know that they don’t deserve to be bullied, and that what happened to them was wrong.
### Document evidence
Print out any evidence of the cyberbullying, including emails and text messages. This can be used to identify the bully, if necessary, and make sure that he or she is reprimanded.
### Tell someone
Bullies thrive on anonymity. Although your child may not want to expose the bully, in most cases, this is the best course of action. Contact the appropriate authorities, whether it be the school principal or the local police.
Lastly, it’s important to continue talking to your child even after the bullying has been put to a stop. Encourage them to continue expressing their feelings, and teach them some positive self-talk techniques to curtail any harm to their self-image. It’s also vital to ensure that they have the proper education and resources to protect themselves online in the future.
Has your child been cyberbullied? What did you do about it?