Making Sense

Cyberbullying Prevention Tips for Kids

Help your kid cultivate an online culture of respect and responsibility.
Caroline Knorr Parenting Editor | Mom of one Categories: Cyberbullying
Parenting Editor | Mom of one

Tragic stories about cyberbullying seem to be a daily news staple in today's world. But while cyberbullying can devastate kids and families, news stories often focus on the worst cases. What's missing is a full picture of the cyberbullying environment.

Unlike a playground brawl in which a bully targets one victim, cyberbullying is often a group undertaking, with an entire network of kids participating. Kids play different roles -- bullies, victims, bystanders, and "upstanders" (the kids who stick up for the victims) -- at different times.

This means that broad-stroke solutions to cyberbullying -- like telling your kids to get off Facebook or making them give up their cell phones -- won't work. Online communication tools are part of the fabric of kids' lives. It also means that families might need to accept that even if their kid is being victimized, he or she may not always have acted saintly online.

Our tips can help prevent, protect, and deal with cyberbullying, regardless of the role your child has played. (Find more cyberbullying tips for all ages.)

Here's what you can do:

Teach your kids empathy. Nothing drives home a point faster than walking a mile in someone else's shoes. If your kids truly understand what someone else is going through, they're less likely to bully someone -- or passively witness others being bullied.

Help kids understand the line between funny and cruel. Kids' online communication is often purposely ambiguous or accidentally cruel -- both of which can lead to misunderstandings. If drama starts brewing, ask your kid to call or speak face to face with their friend to clear it up.

Make sure they talk to someone (even if it's not you). As kids enter the middle school years, their circle of friends and trusted adults widens. Kids need a responsible adult to confide in -- their school counselor, their music teacher, even the parent of a friend.Talk to your kid about who they can go to if trouble is brewing.

Help your kid be an upstander -- not a bystander. Kids are hesitant to get involved, in case the bully turns their sights on them. But there are ways to allow your kid to work behind the scenes to reach out to the victim, get an adult involved, and prevent more cruel behavior.

Show your kid how to stop it. Tell kids not to respond or retaliate. Not feeding the bully can stop the cycle. And -- if anything does happen -- save the evidence.

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About Caroline Knorr

As Common Sense Media's parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids' media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you're wondering "what’s the right age for... Read more

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Comments (10)

harm or harass other people in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner is really bad.. And this is very common all over the world. In every phase on earth we heard the term "CyberBullying" or even some of us had experienced that act of others. Everywhere we are CyberBullying isn't uncommon to us.. Maybe because its the cause as Technology grows, and some of us dont realize the goodness and advantages of it in our lives. They instead abuse its purpose, they think that what they did was funny even if its not.. If I were them, I will think more than those stuffs, how about instead of bullying on the internet, How about making something that is useful to us. I was amazed and realized after i read Bolem.net posts that it is possible of making business online
Another realm of cyberbullying involves subterfuge and aliases which protect the identity of the sender, or trick the receiver into thinking the text message came from someone other than the named sender. Information on this website about the "aps" used for this type of identity fraud would be useful, as would be tutorial on all the loopholes kids use to get around parental control features (such as those ATT can provide).
cyberbullying is actully worse than the old-school type stuff. it's because you have no outlet for stress in this case. anytime you are made fun of, your subconsious thinks up gruesome images of what your inner-demon would like to do to them-and you don't even know it! it helps relive stress, just knowing you can puch the sod in the face. so, he remains to call you certain things that should not be mentioned in this company, knowing you cannot do a bloody thing about it! it's purly phycological. i think the state and senate should do more about it. i moved from britain because i was told by a very american friend that there is less bullying here than britain. i, so far, am unipressed. stop lollygagging and do something, government. they should really put us in charge for a day or so, just to deal with all the bloody bullies!
I feel like cyber-bullying is actually worse than regular bullying. I've never been cyber-bullied, but I can understand because you don't know who it really is. It can break up friendships. So I really feel like it should be illegal because it can easily turn into possible murder.
cyberbylling happens to me when i was in school i use to act like someone im not when i was in school and i felt really bad about it when i did it. I was cyberbully in middle school when o was on facebook and it was spreaded around my middle school. i was now cyberbully from this girl miniese and she was one of the popular bad girls and now im scared and dont want to go to school anymore. cause i know i wont have friends anymore and my life felt ruined.icyberbully is wrong.
i'm bullied all the time every day and i also get called really mean names! i get call a pig at school and lots of other names as well! i used to bully people but after all the stuff that has happen i stopped and then i get bullied all the time! i really like this guy names Xander and he likes me too but when his friends come around they all call me a pig and their always mean too me! and all the other mean names i get called im scared to come to school cuz you never know who will have a hand in your face and the next thing you know is your getting punched in the face! and now that i dont bully anymore i feel really proud and good about myself!!