Still have questions?

Join Common Sense Media Plus for timely advice from a community of parents like you.

Join now

Back to topic overview

Cyberbullying, Haters, and Trolls

What should I teach my kid about safe online behavior?

As soon as your kids begin to go online, it's important to explain your expectations of their behavior. By acting responsibly and respectfully, they will enjoy their time online and get the best of the Internet while mostly avoiding things such as cyberbullying and inappropriate content. Here are some basics to share with your child:

Communicate appropriately. Use the right language for your audience. You might write or speak to a teacher differently from a friend. And never use all caps!

Keep private things private. Don't share personal information, including passwords, your home address, inappropriate images, and gossip.

Respect others. Be courteous. Disagree politely.

Don't lie, steal, or cheat. Don't try to deceive others. Remember to give credit where credit is due. And, although it's easy to copy others' work, download things without permission, or use game cheat codes, don't do it.

Be an "upstander." If someone you know is being targeted by a bully, stand up for that person. You would want him or her to do the same for you.

Report misbehavior. The Internet is a giant community, and you can help it be a nice place.

Follow your family's rules. If your parent tells you to avoid certain websites or to stop texting after a certain time, listen. The more you act responsibly, the more privileges you'll get.

Think before you post, text, or share. Consider how you and others might feel after you've posted something. It's not always easy to take back what you've said online, and your online behavior can create a lasting footprint.

Was this answer helpful?
Sign in or sign up to share your thoughts


Adult written by Sandra J.

As technology has replaced a lot of our day to day activities its important that we know the pros and cons of each. Now-a- days smart phones have become extremely popular among teens. This gives them an easy access to the internet. There are a lot of risks involved in online surfing like cyberbullying, sexting, online harassment etc. Its risky as true identity cannot be determined online. One can install a monitoring app to keep track of their kid's online activities. Communicating with your kids regarding sexting and cyberbullying is important. Kids should be aware of these risks. A few sites that are not meant for kids can be blocked.
Teen, 13 years old written by TheGuardianPie

As a teen on the internet myself, I have a lot of knowledge as I have been online since kindergarten. It doesn't take long to notice hate and whatnot. It's great to take action but, as one with internet experience would know, trolls are trolls who only want attention, thus we all ignore them. This way we don't give them the power and they scatter off. The term "Haters gonna hate" is kept in mind frequently. Any mature person online will know that the internet is mean, and there is no way possible to make the "bullying" disappear. I have experienced some things that offend me in the past, but now I have found some fandoms, which are communities that share a love for something, to keep me going, protect whatever it is we love, and learn maturity, respect, and responsibility together. So I suggest you ask your child what they are interested in and let them find more people like them to help them feel better and discuss what they love, so they can forget the meaningless words said by attention hogs.
Adult written by ghost s.

Well; trolling isn't one thing, sometimes it's flat out harassment and other times it's something you can get behind. A good troll would be one who uses alt-right concepts to mess with the left and destroy the alt-right image.
Kid, 10 years old

Many websites have an ignore feature. Tell your child to use it if someone is mean to them.
Kid, 10 years old

Jane21, I disagree. Your points are very, very straightforward and helpful. However, children being seen and monitored in EVERYTHING, is a bit restrictive. You may think that I am the next child only on here to say how those younger than ten will still be able to see everything, but no, I just think it's far more constructive to find certain ways to keep the child off what isn't right. Monitoring everything is a last resort when the children decide not to follow these rules. Certain children can keep the internet rules in mind when surfing the web, which is why we shouldn't give them the illusion that they aren't able to do anything on the internet, which has a very large amount of child appropriate content. Also, this illusion is what makes it difficult for children to surf the internet, as freedom for them to do things without checking or having someone behind them which are appropriate is easier, and children may be annoyed by these restrictions. Hope this Helps! -Movies0000
Adult written by Jane21

You can tell them whatever you want , but soon enough others rampant poor choices online will directly affect your kids. Monitor every account. Have every password and let the kids know when they are abusing it. Personally I don't think anyone under 13 needs this stuff, it's just a venue for bullying and child predators. Sadly 11-12 year old girls are posting them selves on face book as single looking for men. Really? Where is mom? kids are getting killed by online acquaintances , look up,Autumn Pasqaule, she was killed for her bicycle ! Sorry but either monitor everything, or your not doing your jobs.
Teen, 15 years old written by considermythoughts

Tell them about cyber bullying, and make sure they know it can happen to them, it's not just a "it's never going to happen to me" threat. It can and will happen to anyone. Be informed, and be sure they are too. Have older teenagers watch a movie like Cyberbully on Netflix, it really puts cyber bullying into a hits-close-to-home perspective.