FAQ

  • General
  • What is cyberbullying?

    Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology (cell phones, computers, and tablets) utilizing communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites. Cyberbullying may include mean text messages or emails, negative comments posted on social media, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

  • Why is cyberbullying an important issue?

    Cyberbullying can happen at any time. Messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience. It can sometimes be impossible to trace the source. Deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts, and pictures is extremely difficult after they have been posted or sent.

     

    Kids who are victims or perpetrators of cyberbullying are at higher risk for using alcohol and drugs, skipping school, attain poor grades, have low self-esteem, and having mental health and other health problems.

  • What should I do to protect my child from being a victim or a perpetrator of cyberbullying?

     

    Be aware of what your children are doing online.

     

    Know the sites your kids visit and their online activities. Ask where they’re going, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with. Tell your kids that as a responsible parent you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern. Installing parental control filtering software or monitoring programs are one option for monitoring your child’s online behaviour, but do not rely solely on these tools.

     

    Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use. Ask for their passwords, but tell them you’ll only use them in case of emergency.

     

    Ask to “friend” or “follow” your kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so. Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or cell phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.

     

    Establish rules about appropriate use of computers and other technology.

     

    Be clear about what sites they can visit and what they are permitted to do when they’re online. Show them how to be safe online.

     

    Help them be smart about what they post or say. Tell them not to share anything that could hurt or embarrass themselves or others. Once something is posted, it is out of their control whether someone else will forward it.

     

    Encourage kids to think about who they want to see the information and pictures they post online. Should complete strangers see it? Real friends only? Friends of friends? Think about how people who aren’t friends could use it.

     

    Tell kids to keep their passwords safe and not share them with friends. Sharing passwords can compromise their control over their online identities and activities.

     

    Understand school rules around use of technology at school.

  • Social Media
  • If monitoring reveals that there is cyberbullying or unhealthy social interactions- should the child be asked to come off of the social media sites?

    If the child is the perpetrator the answer is yes…coming off should be part of the intervention along with other support. Reintroduction should be done with much caution and monitoring.

     

    If the child is the victim or bystander an assessment of the impact on the child needs to be done to decide whether the child should be removed. Irrespective of that assessment education/ reeducation around staying safe on the internet should occur and increase monitoring.

  • Technology
  • Should I give my 11 year old a phone?

    This is a personal decision for parents to make.Factors to be considered include the purpose of the phone and the level of responsibility of the child.

  • What is the best age to provide a phone considering that all of her friends have one?

    These decisions should be made based on what is best for child and your families circumstance e.g. Children who have to travel long distances on their own or may be away from their parents for extensive periods are more likely to need a phone earlier.

     

    In general children should be given responsibility gradually with high levels of monitoring especially when the device is initially given. So a detailed discussion of how and when the device should be used should be had before it is given. Parents should be able to monitor the device and access should be gradually increased based on demonstration of the ability to use it responsibly.

  • Victims
  • What should I do if my child is a victim of cyberbullying?

    Intervene immediately, do not assume that it will blow over. Stay calm and listen to your child. Assess the extent of threat independently or with the assistance of professionals. Make sure everyone is safe (this may involve informing the school, law enforcement and other authorities). Meet any immediate medical needs including the need for mental health support/ counselling. Model respectful behaviour when you intervene.

  • Perpetrators
  • What should I do if my child is a perpetrator of cyberbullying?

    Intervene immediately, do not assume it will blow over. Investigate why your child engaged in the behaviour; stay calm and listen to your child. Along with implementing consequences assess and address the reasons for the behaviour with the help of a mental health professional. Model respectful, nonviolent behaviour when you intervene.