How to deal with cyberbullying

Staying safe online

Estimated read: 6 minutes

Being online can be a really positive experience as you can connect with friends, watch enjoyable clips and much more. However, it does have dangers and it is important to stay safe online. 

Key points:

  • Show an interest in what your child is doing on the net but try for a balance between respecting their privacy and making sure they don't feel the need to be secretive
  • Keep safe by using unusual passwords. Use a combination of letters, lowercase, uppercase, symbols and numbers
  • Encourage your child to talk to you if they see something that makes them uncomfortable
dealing with cyberbullying

There are many ways of bullying someone online and for some it can take shape in more ways than one. Some examples of bullying include:

  • Online harassment and threatening behaviour
  • Offensive and humiliating comments and posts
  • Fake profiles and altered images for the purpose of ridicule
  • Leaving people out purposely and excluding them online

Bullying on gaming sites 

Online gaming has become the new going out for many young people as they meet their friends online to play games alongside and against each other. All these wonderful and innovative things you can do online is often overshadowed by the dangers and safety issues of being online. On gaming sites, there can be lots of bullying and hurtful comments being made and people can be left out too. It is important to watch out for signs that your child is experiencing bullying on gaming sites. Help and advice is available from Internet Matters if you are concerned.

Online abuse isn't secret

Even if the people posting this abuse do so using a false name, they can still be traced because the company which hosts the website could keep logs which detail where uploads have been made from. You and your parents can't access this information, but the police can. This is why it is important to keep screenshots of all online abuse as this could be helpful if there is a police investigation.

Keeping safe online

  • Show an interest in what your child is doing on the net but try for a balance between respecting their privacy and making sure they don't feel the need to be secretive
  • Agree rules such as never giving out contact details online and make sure that your child knows why they should never give out their full name, number or email address
  • Agree with your child what they can and can't have access to on the net. Insist they don't download anything from 'pop-ups' that can appear on the screen. Ask them to fetch you if the 'pop-ups' keep reappearing as they can be very persistent
  • Remember some young people will use chat rooms to 'reinvent' themselves which is perfectly normal
  • Don't just have one-off conversations about keeping safe, ensure it is a continuous chat
  • Ask your internet service provider what service they offer to protect your family such as shields, etc.
  • Keep safe by using unusual passwords. Use a combination of letters, lowercase, uppercase, symbols and numbers
  • Check and check again all privacy and location settings
  • Talk to them about digital footprints and their online footprints
  • Limit screen time and try to structure family time so they are not online constantly
  • Encourage your child to talk to you if they see something that makes them uncomfortable

Please watch this video for further guidance 

 

Further resources 

It may help to chat to other parents on our forums to find out how they are dealing with this issue within their family life. You can also talk to us online via our live chat service, email us at askus@familylives.org.uk or call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222 to speak to trained family support worker. You can also report bullying to an organisation called Report Harmful Content online and they can help to get things taken down. You can also find more information on cyber bullying and tips on how to bring up the issue with your child at Internet Matters

This page was updated on September 2021

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