Family members (parents, siblings, grandparents), and close friends play a key role in facilitating the prevention of bullying. They also provide children and other youth with coping skills needed to minimize the severity of a bullying experience.
Bullying can take many forms, such as: violence (hitting or punching) teasing, name calling, intimidation through gestures or facial expressions, social exclusion and sending insulting messages or pictures by mobile phone or the internet (cyberbullying).
General advice for parents is to follow these steps:
- Brush up on the modern forms of bullying that your child may be subjected to at school, on the playground and other places in the community.
- Use strategies to try to prevent bullying and help children deal with bullying experiences.
- Go to your local library or search online for useful materials that you can use to assist children in your family, school and community.
Teach children how to practice safe cyber-habits:
- They should not say anything on the internet that they wouldn't want everyone to see. Once something is on-line, it isn't private anymore and can stay there forever!
- One can never be sure who we are talking to online. It is much easier to pretend to be somebody else online. Your child should never give out any personal information, like how old they are, where they live, their phone number or where they go to school.
- They should be sure they know someone before they accept them into their friend list on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
- They should never share their password with anyone and they should change their password often! They should also password-protect their cell phone.
- Your child should not respond to cyberbullying, otherwise, they could become a cyberbully too!
- They should never send a picture of themselves or any private information in an e-mail.
- Remember that not everything one reads on the internet is true.
- If something makes them upset or uncomfortable online, they should report it to you and/or teachers as soon as possible.
- Your child should tell report exactly what has happened, who did it, where and when it happened, how long it's been happening and how it made them feel.
- It is your job to help keep your child safe. Most adults really care about bullying and will do everything they can to help, but it is the main responsibility of the parent to keep their child safe.
- Remind your child that cyberbullies feel that no one can find them but that isn't true. A trusted adult can contact the internet provider who can track down the owner of the computer where the cyberbullying came from.
- Remind your child that they don't have to stay online if they don't want to. Turn off the computer!
- Your child should save the evidence of cyberbullying to give to the authorities.
- Block communication with the cyberbully.