How to prevent cyberbullying
The best way to protect your kids from cyberbullying is to encourage behaviors that help them avoid it altogether. Try adopting some of these strategies to keep your kids as safe as possible.
Set screen-time limits
Too much time in front of a screen has been linked to plenty of detrimental effects, such as trouble sleeping and eye strain. But too much time online could also increase the chances of your children being exposed to verbal attacks and dangerous online communities. Be clear with your children about how much time they can spend using their electronic devices each day and stick to it.
Encourage out-in-the-open device usage
If your kid spends a lot of time online in the privacy of their bedroom, it’s hard to keep tabs on what they’re doing. Encourage your children to use their devices in a public area of the home (consider setting up computer stations in living rooms or other family spaces)—you can better monitor what they’re up to and how they’re reacting to the media and messages they’re seeing.
Plus, your child may be encouraged to stay in safer online spaces if they know you’re nearby, which could help them avoid some cyberbullying.
Teach online safety
As an adult, you’re probably familiar with basic online security practices, such as using secure passwords and keeping your private information, well, private. But kids may not be as familiar with these seemingly common-sense topics. Make sure to talk to your kids about protecting themselves online, including setting their social media profiles to private, keeping their passwords safe, and shielding their personal information from the public eye.
Know your child’s risk factors
Just like with old-fashioned bullies, some kids are more susceptible to cyberbullying than others. If your child falls into a traditionally targeted group based on factors like physical appearance, gender identity, sexuality, race, religion, or physical and mental ability, be aware that those factors could come into play online as well. In addition, girls are slightly more likely than boys to be victims of online bullying.
If any of these risk factors apply to your child, take extra precautions to keep an eye on your kid’s health and mood, and keep communication channels with them open.