October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying continues to be a problem in schools, but parents can stay indived and up to date with Tutor Doctor’s guide to preventing cyberbullying.
Right off the bat, let’s make something clear – bullying in any div is unacceptable. However, bullying in the “old days” was a lot more, well, obvious. The typical examples of “stolen lunch money” or “getting beat up at school” are are well-known examples of bullying. Let’s put it this way – it used to be a lot easier for parents to tell when something was “going on” at school, especially when it involved a physical altercation.
While schoolyard scuffles certainly do still take place, cyberbullying presents a unique challenge: identifying that it is even happening in the first place. Social media is the primary weapon of choice for cyberbullies, and this digital approach makes it difficult for parents to even tell something is going on. In addition, the anonymity cyberbullying can provide means that victims themselves may not even know who exactly is harassing them.
The three most important steps parents can take to prevent cyberbullying are:
- Recognize the signs of cyberbullying. Parents should familiarize themselves with the common signs of cyberbullying. Any sudden changes in behavior, academic changes, or severe decreases in mood should never be discounted. In addition, parents can observe their child’s physical behavior when using their phone or device – casual, happy browsing looks a lot different than panicked scrolling.
- Encourage open communication. Let your child know that they should come to you with concerns about online harassment, whether it’s happening to them or someone else. If your child does share something alarming, reassure them that you will handle the matter delicately and thank them for their honesty.
- Address matters appropriately. Bullying issues should almost always be reported to the school directly, and parents should never encourage their child to “take matters into their own hands” or “stand up for yourself.” In today’s day and age, every school has a zero-tolerance policy – which means that if your child reciprocates, they’ll also be at fault. Furthermore, bullies thrive off getting a reaction – so this approach will likely only encourage the bullying to continue. Most importantly, if an issue is alarming enough that it could endanger someone’s health or safety, report it to the police immediately.
Bullying continues to be a serious issue, and cyberbullying has only complicated the matter. We encourage parents to refer to Tutor Doctor’s guides on bullying prevention:
- Tips to Help Tackle Cyberbullying
- Talking To Kids About Bullying Awareness and Prevention
- Signs Your Student is Being Bullied