Internet Safety Expert: Jesse Weinberger – Cyberbullying Tips for Parents Internet Safety Expert, Jesse Weinberger, is interviewed by WKYC – Channel 3 Cleveland on Cyberbullying in light of the Rebecca Sedwick case, a 12-year-old girl from Lakeland Florida who committed suicide as a result of merciless bullying.
What do I do if my child is cyberbullied?
For the most part, cyberbullying is bullying; only it happens on phones and other connected devices. Most experts agree that it involves repeated harassment and some type of power imbalance – and, when young people are involved, it usually has something to do with what’s
happening with peers at school. It’s important to remember that not every mean comment or unpleasant interaction rises to the level of bullying. Centres for Disease Control reports that 15% of high school students were electronically
bullied in 2017. Cyberbullying Research Center estimates about 25% of all teens experience cyberbullying. Either way, it’s too many, but it’s important to note that most teens don’t bully others. We point this out not to minimize a serious problem, but to emphasise that bullying is not a norm. Kindness, not cruelty, is the norm.
Often there are no signs, but you might notice that your child has difficulty sleeping, a change in online habits (such as checking social media constantly), declining grades, not
wanting to go to school, feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem. In the case of physical bullying, there could be broken or missing items or injuries.
If your child does experience cyberbullying, as a target or a bystander, supportive parenting can go a long way toward minimising the impact. It’s usually best for your child
to not react or retaliate but to block the person who is bullying and save the evidence in case it’s needed. But the most important thing to do is talk with your kids about what’s
going on, help them think through what happened, how they feel about it, and what they’re going to do about it. It’s essential to involve your child in the process, not just take over yourself.
Join the OYP programme to help yourself to protect your children.