What to Do if Your Child is Bullied & Tips for Prevention (Part II of II)
Bullying is no longer limited to children pushing and shoving on the playground where they can easily be caught and disciplined. It happens behind screens and on social media platforms, many of which parents don’t even know exist.
In the second part of this blog series for National Bullying Prevention Month, we offer suggestions for a discussion with your child and tips for parents to help prevent bullying.
What to Do if Your Child is Being Bullied or Witnesses Bullying
It’s important for children to know what to do if they are being bullied or see another child being bullied. It’s important to discuss a few key topics with your child so they will be prepared if a bullying situation ever arises:
- Telling ≠ tattling - Teach your children that if they witness bullying or are being bullied, they need to report it to an adult. Stress to them that doing so will help ensure their safety and the safety of their friends and/or classmates.
- Get the facts - Talk to your child about the importance of keeping a record of what is happening. If bullying occurs online, children and parents can take screenshots or copy and paste posts or comments that exhibit bullying behavior and save them. Text conversations should be saved and screenshots taken. A child who is being bullied can easily panic and forget the facts. By teaching them ahead of time to capture bullying as it happens, they will be more likely to be able to produce evidence that will assist school staff and authorities (if necessary) in conducting a more thorough investigation. Once the evidence has been saved, help your child use the technology tools available to “block” the bully from contacting them, whether on social media or through text.
- Be a friend - If your child witnesses bullying, encourage them to reach out to the bullied student and ask, “Are you okay?” or “Would you like to talk?” Being a friend to someone being bullied shows that person he or she is not alone.
- Talk to your child - Start by having an open and honest conversation. Help them share the information with an authority figure.
What Can Parents Do?
- Monitor your child’s online activity. Regularly check student-viewed sites and browsing history and stay up to date on what apps and accounts your child uses. Keep a record of student login information and review privacy settings on all devices. Make use of parental controls for your children’s devices.
- Establish rules about appropriate digital behavior. Talk to your child about digital citizenship and how to protect their personal information. Discuss what information is and is not appropriate to share online.
- If necessary, make a plan to remove your child from the situation. If the bullying continues, consider if removing your child from the website or activity is the best course of action. If the bullying is happening at school, remember that in Pennsylvania, students have many options of public, private, and charter schools to choose from.
Take a few minutes to share these thoughts with your children and share this message with your friends so together we can do our part to stop bullying. For additional information on bullying, visit https://www.stopbullying.gov/.
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