Bullying doesn’t just take place at school anymore. Kids spend as much time online as they do in class these days, so it’s only natural that bullying behavior would extend to social media, too. How can kids deal with cyberbullies without making the situation worse? Here are our top tips for helping your youngsters navigate the frustrating world of digital harassment.
The first step to ending online bullying is straightforward, but some kids might not think of it right away. Victims of harassment should block the offenders on all forms of social media. This will stop direct harassment, like bullying messages or unkind comments on posts. It will also prevent bullies from seeing the victim’s pictures and will stop them from gaining more ammunition for their torment campaign.
Some youngsters might not realize how effective blocking their harassers can be. Bullies want to see their victims’ reactions, so blocking them takes away their main reason to focus on a target. If your kids are worried that their friends will judge them for blocking their harassers, remind them that it’s okay for them to want to use social media in peace.
Most social media platforms offer privacy settings that control who can see each user’s posts. If your children are the victims of bullying, they should use these privacy settings to limit who can see their online activity.
Some bullies might use backup accounts to continue their harassment even after they’re blocked. Victims can use tight privacy settings to keep their presence hidden, preventing harassers on alternate logins from seeing their posts.
Alternate accounts aren’t just for bullies, either. If the harassment is consistent and relentless, victims should consider making backup accounts that they only share with close friends. This strategy will keep them from interacting with bullies and help them retake control of their online space.
Sometimes, it’s better to abandon a compromised social media page than attempt damage control. Some bullies just don’t give up.
The most efficient step to beat cyberbullies is to log off. No one wants to constantly face mean-spirited jokes, so talk to your kids about avoiding social media altogether. There’s no reason for them to subject themselves to digital mockery when they could be enjoying their free time doing things they love.
Some bullies are so relentless that they won’t leave their victims alone. In these cases, suggest that your child delete their social media altogether and connect with their friends through other channels. It’s okay to discard things that don’t make us happy.