The greatest risks to your child on the Internet and their cell phone come from people they know and not strangers.
If you discover that your child is being cyber-bullied, stay calm. Listen. Do not overreact. If you immediately “unplug” their connection to their friends and community, you run the risk of them never approaching you again when problems arise. Ask them what they would like to see happen and work together to accomplish this.
Some options for you and your child:
- Block the sender, save the evidence, report to provider.
- If the problem continues, you might try to notify the sender/sender’s parents that “authorities will be contacted if it continues.”
- If the cyber-bullying reaches the point of defamation, invasion of privacy, harassment or threats, you may consider contacting an attorney or the police.
One of the best things parents can do for a child in trouble online is to help remove them from the drama and detach temporarily from their peers. The distance can help them gain perspective and give you time to determine the best way to help your child deal with the crisis. Suggest and plan something that will distract them and that they can relax with and enjoy—a movie, family outing, game—you know best what this might be (anything but cell phones and computers).
Read through our FAQs from Parents for other tips on how to help your child stay safe online.