Talking to your child about anything remotely personal or serious might seem like your idea of a nightmare. You’re probably grappling with how best to handle these types of conversations, including thinking through:

  • how to give your child privacy while also making sure they’re safe and happy
  • how to give them space to test their own problem solving skills and building resilience, while trying to smooth the path for them and minimise any risks
  • educating them about different personalities—knowing you can’t make their choices for them
  • giving your child boundaries, while also being understanding and open.

It’s a fine line! The best way to manage cyberbullying is to help your child learn some social and emotional strategies before anything happens. Of course every child is different and will react differently to stressful or threatening situations. If you notice an unexplained change in your child’s behaviour or they come to you asking for help, we have some strategies to help in a positive way.

Listen, don’t judge

For example, ‘I understand what you’re saying, and I’m glad you came to me about this. You’re not going to get into trouble, but we need to trust each other, fix this and move forward.’

Let them know you’re there to help them, even if they’re in trouble, no matter what

For example, ‘You might not want to tell me all the detail, but if we can talk honestly about what’s happened I promise I’ll listen and stay calm. No matter what happens, we can do this and I love you.

Let them know your policy on cyberbullying and what breaking the rules might look like

For example, ‘I want to make sure we’re clear on some rules around your use of technology and how to treat people online. Sending around photos or videos to hurt and embarrass someone isn’t ok.

Emphasise the positive

For example, ‘I know what a kind and respectful person you are, and it makes me so proud to see you acting the same way when you’re online. You are such a great friend: I can see how much everyone looks up to you at school.

Encourage empathy

For example, ‘I noticed that Sam hasn’t been at training for the past few weeks … and her dad told me she’s been pretty sad lately. Have you noticed anything? What do you think is wrong? Would that make you sad? What can we do to help?

Encourage resilience

For example, ‘None of what they’ve posted about you is true, and it’s very hurtful. What they’ve done isn't ok. They must be feeling pretty bad about themselves to treat you like this. How are you feeling? Let’s block them to stop their messages coming through. Then I was thinking we could finally go and pick up those concert tickets for Friday night. Want to come with me?

Got the information you need to report cyberbullying?

Parent support tool

If serious cyberbullying is affecting your child and you need help having the material removed from a social media site, we can help.

Work through our cyberbullying support tool to see if you have everything you need to get started.

Work through the cyberbullying support tool

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