If you are a parent with a child old enough to have a smart phone, there’s a strong likelihood that they are also using it as a social device. From texts, to music, to photos, we all use our phones to stay connected with those who are important to us. Even if our kids don’t have a phone yet, there are still other ways for kids to connect and chat with each other online, like video game chat functionality.
As our kids enter the online and social media world more and more, it’s never too early to discuss family internet rules, how to stay safe online and how to speak up when needed.
Cyberbullying is a real issue for our children, and one that can cause harm. It is greatly affecting the well-being of our kids, both physically and mentally. To better empower our children, TELUS has developed tips to help parents, students and educators speak with children about cyberbullying. The TELUS Rise Above resource page is a part of their ongoing commitment to creating a digital safe space through TELUS WISE.
To give our children the tools they need to stand up to cyberbullying, we need to proactively have conversations with them about how they can identify a situation and safely diffuse what is happening, either with a phrase, distraction or by privately speaking with the target. Sometimes it can be difficult to intervene, and children are concerned about either worsening the situation or possibly becoming a target of the bullying themselves if they say something. If your child isn’t sure how to respond to a group text or message if someone is bullying a friend, try role playing with them and providing a script that they are comfortable using. You can also use the IMPACT tool together to think through the right ways to intervene and help make a situation better.
Phrases our kids can use
To determine some phrases that can be used online to help diffuse a bullying situation, begin by asking your kids for examples of ways they could intervene. Let them identify wording that they think would work best and that they feel they would use. If they aren’t sure, try some of these prompts.
“We don’t speak to people like that.”
“This group isn’t for conversations like this.”
“I don’t like how this is going.”
“That’s not nice and we shouldn’t bully in this group.”
The MediaSmarts Tip Sheet about being a witness to bullying offers some advice on how our kids can handle these situations.
When kids are equipped with the tools and confidence to speak up, the results can have dramatic effects on bullying. However, not all kids may feel comfortable speaking up. This is why we need to maintain ongoing communication as parents. We want our kids to step forward when they feel their friends or themselves are being bullied, but they need the tools to help guide them. There isn’t always one best answer depending on the situation. The TELUS Rise Above Parents Guide can help you talk with your kids and includes a series of steps, phrases and actions that our kids can be confident taking.
Cyberbullying can hurt our kids. Communicating with them about family internet rules and how to navigate their online time with friends is crucial.
TELUS Rise Above helps parents talk to their children about cyberbullying and helps our children to explore their thoughts, feelings and potential reactions to it. It also helps provide our kids with the language, resources and opportunities to step up when they are in a situation that needs it. By standing up to cyberbullying, this is a step in the right direction and as parents, we need to be there for our kids.
This post is brought to you by TELUS but the opinions are our own.