(NC) Did you know that 20 per cent of Canadian teens have experienced cyberbullying directly, while many more have witnessed it? While your children may never become cyberbullies or victims, they will most likely witness this type of behaviour and remaining silent or joining in can make matters worse. These tips can help guide their actions in these situations.
- Use the right lingo.Most teens don’t use the word “cyberbullying.” Instead, kids tend to dismiss this type of behaviour as “drama.” So, start there — ask if they see online drama between their friends and peers. Then you can have a broader conversation about social media conduct, dos and don’ts, and so on.
- Recognize the personal nature of the online world.Being behind screens creates a great divide between bully and victim, and bystanders can fall prey to this, too. “For witnesses, the volume of noise on the internet or while playing video games can be overwhelming and they can simply tune it out,” explains Nimmi Kanji, director of Telus Wise Internet and Smartphone Education. “In order to recognize bullying and do their part to mitigate it, remind your children that online words make an offline impact. These are real people and they deserve respect.”
- Take a break.By age 16, one in three kids say they regret at least one thing they’ve said online. “Witnesses can easily become participants and can quickly escalate a situation,” notes Kanji. “To help your children avoid making poor decisions, encourage them to step back before contributing. Start by taking a moment to reflect before engaging; it can make a world of difference.”
Learn more about preparing your children to deal with cyberbullying online at telus.com/wise.