We live in the age of technology, and children are no strangers to the use of the Internet for homework, gaming, socializing, and learning. Many of the sites that children spend time surfing, including social media sites and social web games, can usually be places fueled with positive interactions and connection. But sometimes, such sites can also be a space thriving with bullies ready to intimidate a child with anonymous threats and inappropriate comments.
Part of the role as a parent in our contemporary society is to prepare our children to face bullies, both in person and on the web. Otherwise, a child who faces cyber-bullying is all the more likely to confront challenges as they age, such as using alcohol and drugs, skipping school, and having lower self-esteem.
In order to teach a child positive strategies to handle bullying, we must be empathetic in our approach. The following strategies can help a child seek constructive solutions to harassment in any social setting:
- Normalize the bullying situation by sharing your own experiences and how you dealt with them growing up
- Help your child to understand the roots of bullying—digging deep to explain why a person may be being mean or hurtful to another
- Do not equate bullies with irreparable meanness; instead, use empathy to understand that a bully may actually be deeply sad
- Teach your child to always report cyber-bullying and to never let it go unchecked or unseen by an adult
With these strategies in mind, your child will be more likely to handle bullies in a constructive manner. For other tips, see this guide to helping your child face bullying both at school and on the web.