8 Ways Kids Can Stand Up for Victims of Cyberbullying

Teach your kids to stick up for those bullied online

kids on smartphones

When bullying occurs, bystanders play a pivotal role in stopping the bullying. In fact, if just one person says something, the bullying stops almost immediately. But how can bystanders help put an end to cyberbullying? Watching something unfold online is much different than witnessing it in person.

In fact, many times kids have no idea what to do when they witness cyberbullying. According to Pew Internet and American Life Project, 90 percent of tweens and teens ages 12 to 17 say they have witnessed some form of online cruelty and have ignored it.

What’s more, 35 percent admit to having done this frequently.

But for cyberbullying to end, kids need to do something when they witness it. Here are eight ways kids can respond to cyberbullying when they see it.

Avoid liking or favoriting mean posts. No matter how funny your teen thinks a post is, remind him that mean posts constitute cyberbullying. Liking or favoriting a mean post contributes to the cyberbullying and gives the cyberbully the audience she was looking for. What’s more, adding a comment to the post is even more detrimental to the victim.

Post words of encouragement. Encourage your child to support the victim by posting a positive comment. For instance, he could say something like: “I disagree with what is being said about you.” Or he could post something like: “Don’t believe what she is saying. It is not true.”

Rally friends to show support. In addition to posting his own positive comments, encourage your child to get his friends to support the victim as well.

Tell an adult. Anytime your child witnesses cyberbullying, he should let you know what he sees. Telling you, a teacher or an administrator is a good first step to putting an end to the cyberbullying. Many times, getting adults involved brings the cyberbullying to an end.

Block the cyberbully. One way to end cyberbullying, is to cut off the cyberbully's ability to spread her message.

If she starts losing followers and friends online, it may encourage her to stop cyberbullying others.

Never assume cyberbullying is a private matter. Cyberbullying occurs online for the entire world to see. As a result, it is not a private issue. It is a very public, and a very painful one. It is important for witnesses to take steps to see it come to an end. Remind your child that not doing something communicates that he condones what is happening.

Avoid insulting the cyberbully. While what the cyberbully is doing wrong, it is not helpful to a victim of bullying, if others get involved by insulting or ridiculing the cyberbully. In fact, that type of response puts your child on the same level as the cyberbully. It also might make things worse for the victim. Encourage your kids to always be respectful online, even to people who are mean and rude.

Use creative ways to address cyberbullying. While there are many other ways to address cyberbullying there is one initiative hopes to give witnesses a simple way to shut down cyberbullying as soon as it starts.

Known as “I Am a Witness,” the campaign consists of a simple icon, or emoji, depicting an open eye within a speech bubble.

If someone is trashing another person, the idea is that the teen can simply respond with the open eye emoji instead of using words. Using the emoji communicates to the victims of bullying that they are not alone. It allows the user to say: “I see what is happening to you and I think it is wrong.”

The program’s goal is to fill a void for kids who want to say something about the bullying, but have no idea what to say. The icon gives kids a way to point out bullying without saying much. 

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