Cyberbullying is using online and mobile technology to harm other people in a deliberate, repeated and hostile manner.The school year has ended, but for students who are victims of bullying, often the problem doesn’t stop when they step away from the classroom.

The internet is a powerful social networking tool, but not everything shared online is positive or healthy for a person’s self-esteem. More than one in three Canadians say they have witnessed an act of cyberbullying, whether it was against someone they know or someone they don’t know.

Cyberbullying is using online and mobile technology to harm other people in a deliberate, repeated and hostile manner. This form of bullying can have a profound impact, and it is important for parents and guardians to look out for signs their child may be a victim of cyberbullying so that they can intervene.
 

A child who is being cyberbullied may:

  • Spend a lot of time online or on their phone, even late at night, without wanting to tell you what they are doing or who they are talking to.
  • Quickly hide the computer screen or their phone when you enter the room.
  • Exhibit a change in behaviour; they may act more withdrawn or emotional than usual.
The important thing to express to a child experiencing cyberbullying is that they are not alone. According to studies, 57 per cent of the time bullying stops within 10 seconds when a bystander steps in. This is important, since a simple intervention and a friendly word to a bullied child can have the power to change his or her experience.
 

If your child is being cyberbullied:

  • Try to resist an instinctive reaction to take away their devices. Social media and the internet can bring people together, and your child may feel more alone if they are disconnected.
  • Instead, tell them not to try to reason or communicate with the person who is bullying them.
  • Use the “block” feature to prevent the person from contacting them again.
  • Let them know they can tell an adult they trust or contact the Kids Help Phone website if they are being bullied – they are not alone.
  • If you see the bullying posts or messages, save them as evidence.
  • Empower youth to stand up for their peers if they see someone being cyberbullied.
Being actively engaged with youth and having ongoing dialogue about their experiences online creates a safe environment to discuss what they might find challenging, but also what they are enjoying about their online experience including bonding with friends and exploring hobbies. The internet and social media connect us all – let’s do our part to make those connections and experiences as positive as possible.  

For more information about our Respect Education program and resources about bullying, visit www.redcross.ca/respect