“I cannot believe the ugliness directed at my daughter in that text message.”
“How could a person write something hate-filled about another kid and post it online?”
“Who would share something so nasty on Instagram?”
These are typical responses from parents when the topic of cyber bullying comes up in parenting classes. The anger and sadness can be felt through their words. October is National Bullying Prevention Month. It’s a good time to sit down with your kids to have a heart-to-heart about respect, how to respect others and what to expect from others including online. (Click on the links listed below for more on the topic of bullying.)
In the world of bullies, the cyber bully is the attacker that doesn’t knock on the door. It’s a home invasion of malice. The hateful messages flit through space to cause pain and alienation. When kids are bullied online, assailants are usually acquaintances, classmates, or even friends. All it takes is one click to make a hurtful message go viral.
Use these pointers to help your kids with cyber bullies.
• Keep the lines of communication open. Talk about what cyber bullying looks like. Ask if your child has read messages that are callous or cruel to other kids and what he thinks about those kinds of messages. Cyber bullying most commonly occurs in middle school. Your child might be embarrassed to talk to you or even admit there’s a problem. Assure him you are in his corner.
• Keep the computer in a common family area where you can keep track of what’s going on with email, online games, and social media.
• “Friend” your child on Facebook. Follow him on Twitter. Create you own Instagram or Snapchat account. Get into the child’s cyber world but resist commenting too much or you might not be welcome to stay!
• Charge a family cell phones in the parent’s bedroom, not the child’s. Check messages occasionally.
• Have ongoing conversations regarding appropriate behavior with cell phone use, social media, and Internet use. A good litmus test is the simple question, “Would you be comfortable if Grandma read every message on your phone and saw every photo?” If not, don’t send it. Period.
• Encourage kids not to respond to the bully online. Instead, block the bully, sign out, and give the situation a few days to cool down. The bully is looking for a conflict. Don’t provide it. If necessary, take a “cyber-fast”.
…for the Lord to strengthen your child in adversity.
…for good friends who will stand up to a bully with your child.
…for your child to stand up for others who are bullied.
…for God to protect kids from those who try to harm them.
…for the bully to change his/her behavior.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
Has your child experienced a cyber bully? If so, how did you help your child?
By Becky Danielson
Wife to Scott, mom of two
Licensed Parent & Family Educator
Co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting
Co-author of The 1 Corinthians 13 Parent Series
Raising Little Kids with Big Love and
Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love
both with Study Guides
More on the topic of bullying from the 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team.
Let’s Get to the Root of Bullying by J.L. Martin
Bully Proof by Lori Wildenberg
Bullies Come in All Shapes and Sizes by Becky Danielson
Training Kids to Choose Friends Wisely by Doug Drake
FRIENDSHIP: The James Gang by Pete Larson Share this post with your kids to inspire them!
Much more on bullying can be found in Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love.
Register for the 2015 HeartCORe Conference on November 14 at Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, MN. Becky and five other members of the 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team will be speaking on CORe topics of faith, parenting, education, and relationships. The $25.00 registration fee includes keynotes, breakouts, lunch and a copy of Raising Little Kids with Big Love OR Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love along with the Study Guide.
Pastors and lay leaders, join Becky and Lori for a complimentary breakfast and learn more about using the 1 Corinthians 13 Parent series for large group, small group, and mentoring in your church.