Cyberbullying: What to look for?
Key Advice for Parents
As a parent, you are well placed to identify and deal with any cyberbullying your child might encounter . Children or young people who have been bullied will have difficulty in overcoming this problem alone and will need your help in tackling it.
What should I look out for?
If your child is:
- avoiding school, or
- seems upset, sad or angry (especially after using a phone or other electronic device)
- withdrawing from usual activities
- suddenly showing disinterest in electronic devices or
- rapidly switching screens when you enter the room.
that child may be a victim of cyberbullying.
Confirm that you are dealing with bullying behaviour
There are four questions that, when taken together, you can use to help confirm if what you are dealing with is bullying:
- Target – Is your child specifically targeted on their own or is the behaviour targeted at a group of people?
- Duration – Has this been happening over a period of time?
- Frequency – Is this behaviour part of a recurring pattern?
- Intention – Is this behaviour deliberately intended to harm or upset your child?
You should get in touch with your child’s school or youth organisation if the bullying involves another pupil from that school or youth group. You should also contact the service provider through its Customer Care or Report Abuse facility. If the cyberbullying is very serious and potentially criminal you should contact your local Gardaí.
If you are concerned that your child has received a bullying, offensive or harassing message, it is very important that you encourage them to talk to you. It will be easier for you to do this if you have already established a good understanding with your child about ICT usage.
Responding to a negative experience by stopping, or threatening to stop, their access to mobile phones or the internet might not be the appropriate response and it might result in you, the parent, being left out of the loop the next time this happens.
This article was taken from the ‘Get with it!’ Series “A guide to cyberbullying” 2013. Produced by The Office for Internet Safety, Department of Justice and Equality. You can get further information on general internet safety issues by visiting www.internetsafety.ie
To access the full booklet click here
This booklet is intended to increase awareness of all aspects of cyberbullying in the new media world and to help parents and their children understand the often confusing issues of new media technologies and tools which children and young people are using for this behaviour.