Dealing with Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that takes place electronically, using the Internet or cell phones. It is important for parents to be aware of cyberbullying as more and more children become immersed in the digital world. Click on the links below to view and print a pamphlet or read further on this page to find out more about this topic.
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is an illegal activity. Children are not always aware of the consequences of their actions. Knowing what cyberbullying is and talking about the seriousness of it may prevent children from engaging in cyberbullying or from being victims of or silent bystanders to cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying includes the following negative or hurtful behaviours:
- Sending nasty or insulting electronic message over the Internet or on cell phones
- Sending or posting gossip, secrets or rumours about a person to damage his or her reputation or friendships
- Pretending to be someone else and sending negative messages or posting material to get others in trouble or to hurt their reputations or friendships
- Purposely excluding someone from an Internet group, chat room or friend list.
- Posting real or digitally-altered photographs of someone online without their permission
- Using websites to rate peers’ popularity or appearance
How is cyberbullying different from other forms of bullying?
- Cyberbullying often looks anonymous. It does not occur face-to-face so cyberbullies think their online identity is unknown but phone numbers and Internet addresses can be traced.
- It is often more harsh. Cyberbullies say things online that they wouldn’t say in person.
- It is far-reaching. Electronic messages can be easily sent to a school or community or posted on a website for the whole world to see forever.
What can parents do to get involved?
Jane Thornthwaite, Parliamentary Secretary for Student Support and Parent Engagement, and student safety experts Theresa Campbell and Jesse Miller developed these videos for parents in order to help you keep your kids safe online. Watch these videos to learn preventative actions and techniques that you can use to protect your kids, and find out what to do if your child is the target of cyberbullying. For more information visit the EraseBullying website.
Watch Part 1 to find answers to these questions:
- How can we protect our children from negative internet experiences?
- What are the top things that parents need to know about technology?
- What are some of the signs that show my child is being hurt by online experiences?
Watch Part 2 to find answers to these questions:
- How do I start conversations about internet safety with my child?
- What are some good strategies to use with my child if I am overwhelmed by technology?
- What is information is kept online. How will this affect my child’s future?
Use these strategies to support healthy online interactions:
- Keep computers in a shared family space in your home — not in a child’s bedroom.
- Learn everything you can about what your children do online. Be familiar with any profiles (e.g. Facebook), web pages or electronic journals (blogs) they use.
- Know your child’s passwords.
- Teach your children to never post online or send in a text message anything that they wouldn’t want the entire world to see or read.
- Discuss the importance of treating others with kindness and respect when sending electronic messages, not just in person.
- Encourage your child to come to you if someone says or does something online to make them feel uncomfortable.
What to do if your child is a target of cyberbullying
Cyberbullying can have negative consequences, such as low self-esteem and school avoidance. If your child tells you that he or she is being bullied online:
- Listen and provide support
- Save the evidence: phone and Internet records can be traced
- Tell the bully to stop, if their identity is known
- Report the incident(s) to school administrators
- Notify the police