Since we now have readers from many age groups, in this article, we are giving you two response plans to cyberbullying:
Plan 1 if you are a young person (a teen, a tween, or perhaps you are even younger) who has been cyberbullied.
Plan 2 if you are the parent whose child has been cyberbullied.
Whomever you are, we hope you will find something useful for you on this page.
PLAN 1: You’re a young person who has been cyberbullied
You are probably not feeling great because of what happened to you. It may not feel like it, but things really can get better. Remember these three points to get things rolling in a good direction for you:
1. Remind yourself as many times as needed this simple sentence: “What happened is not my fault”.
2. Cyberbullies (like other bullies) target anyone and everyone: skinny people, bigger people, light-skinned people, dark-skinned people, famous people, people unknown to the public. Cyberbullies also bully smart people, creative people, athletes, kind people, fun people…. They target young people and adults too!
3. Now the super important point: Ask a trusted adult (this would usually be a parent) for help! You may not be sure about asking for help but there is every reason to ask for help.
Why should you ask for help?
Talking about it and asking for help is The way out of any type of bullying. We all need to team up in these circumstances to share our feelings, feel supported and learn from an adult how to best deal with the situation.
Once you got help to deal with the cyberbullying that has affected you, you may well notice that someone around you (a friend, a sibling, a cousin…) is being bullied. That day, because you’ve asked for help when you needed it, you’ll be able to help someone else: You’ll be able to understand them and tell them how asking for help turned out to be the best thing you’ve ever done. And guess what, one day they’ll be the one telling someone else that asking for help was the best thing, and they will likely mention you, a former victim who became a helpmate. In short, you can become a leader showing other victims how to seek help and how things can get better - not all heroes wear capes!
If you are still afraid to seek help from an adult, remember:
1- It is not your fault if you have been bullied.
2- We are always stronger teaming together.
3- An adult will know how to help you, and at the same time they will probably search up extra ways to help you (like reading the section below) which means they’ll learn stuff along the way (thanks to you) which can help them later too (remember, adults are cyberbullied too!).
So… Ask for help! Don’t overthink it – Ask for help!
PLAN 2: You’re a parent whose child has been cyberbullied
If you have found out your child is a victim of cyber bullying, you must be thinking about the best response plan.
Whilst this list of actions is not exhaustive, we have put together for you a solid first strategy:
Acknowledge the seriousness of the situation as well as your child’s emotions, be supportive and be patient as it may take a while for your child to articulate their experience and emotions. Let them know that they can trust you as a safe place and that you can help.
Show through your words and behaviour that you will get the situation under control - because it is doable, and because you know what to do. Seeing you in control will help your child regain confidence and, down the track, feel empowered (notably to help others later on).
The basic reflexes and skills to go through with your child
1- Be emotionally supportive. Remind them that seeking help is the first and most important step.
2- Explain that things can get under control and improve with a solid and appropriate plan (this will help them feel safe and empowered).
3- Remind them that what has happened is not their fault, the origin of the problem lies with the cyberbullies themselves (their insecurities, their jealousy, their own problems etc.)
4- Collect evidence of the cyberbullying - with screenshots, for example.
5- Block the cyberbully and review your child’s privacy settings.
6- Report the incident(s) to the relevant forum, website, app or platform.
7- Keep monitoring your child’s well-being. If need be, explain to your child how seeking additional help will be beneficial for them.
8- If the cyberbully is a student attending your child’s school, get in touch with the school to be informed of their anti-bullying policy and discuss how they will handle the issue at their end.
9- Once this feels possible for your child, you can empower them by encouraging them to use their experience to support other victims, being a leader showing others how to seek help and how things can get better - not all heroes wear capes!
10- Remind them to keep the cyberbullying dialogue open with you even if they feel more confident with the issue – some situations can be trickier than others.
Our sources for further information: