ABH Maryland

How to Really Protect Your Child from Cyberbullying


How to Really Protect Your Child from Cyberbullying

  • Children Mental Health

Protecting your child from cyberbullying is a relatively new concern. While cyberbullying is a phenomenon that older generations may have a hard time relating to, it is a fact of life for young people today, and it can strike any of them without warning. 

And cyberbullying doesn’t just touch the lives of the antagonist and their victim—almost every child has witnessed cyberbullying on their own social media feeds.

If your child has been involved in cyberbullying, or if you are interested in learning how to prevent it, here is some information you’ll want to know.

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is any bullying behavior that takes place over a digital medium. School-aged children commonly use social media, messaging, and gaming platforms to bully one another. 

For digital behavior to cross the line from being simply unwanted—say, a rude or thoughtless message—to bullying, it must be aggressive and involve a real or perceived power imbalance. 

Cyberbullying is also repeated behavior. Here are some common cyberbullying tactics you may observe:

  • Sharing embarrassing photos or videos of a person on social media.
  • Sending anonymous insults using a messaging app.
  • Persistently creating new social media accounts to continue harassing an individual after they have been blocked.

6 Steps to Protect Your Child from Cyber Bullying

Cyberbullying is incredibly frustrating to try to stop because it could occur any time a young person has access to a device outside of parental supervision. The best tactic is to avoid it altogether. Here are some steps you and your child can work on together to prevent cyberbullying before it starts. 

  • Understand your privacy controls. Every platform allows users to control access to their profiles in one way or another. Talk seriously with your child about the safest way to set these up. 
  • Be smart about your password. Teach your children good password-making strategies and tell them that the only person they should share their passwords with is you
  • Protect private information. Impress upon them the importance of never sharing their home address, phone number, credit card information, or where they go to school with strangers. 
  • Find out what your child is doing online. Do you know the platforms they use to talk to their friends? Have they made any new connections you aren’t aware of? If your children are mature enough to have their own accounts, they should also be mature enough to inform you about what they do with them.
  • Think about what you post. That matters, too! 
  • Find resources online. There are lots of non-profit organizations that offer free resources to bullying victims. Stopbullying.gov is a good place to start. 

Responding to Cyber Bullying

If your child has already become a target of a bully, there are some effective strategies to handle the situation. 

The best thing any parent can do for their child is to listen to them. Cyberbullying can be an incredibly painful experience, especially for those in adolescence, when people are most sensitive to peer acceptance and young people simply want to be heard.

Cyberbullying is different from other types of harassment in that it almost always leaves a trail. Rather than trying to control a bully’s behavior, it is more sensible to document the harassment without responding to it. 

It is common that states, businesses, organizations, and school districts have explicit policies or laws prohibiting cyberbullying. Once you have evidence of bullying, the adult can alert whichever authority is responsible for ending the behavior.

Contact Us

At Advanced Behavioral Health, we take cyberbullying seriously. 

Your child doesn’t have to face cyberbullying alone—we have an entire team of qualified mental health specialists to support you and give you the counseling you need. 

You can call us at 301-345-1022 or send us a message online here. One of our team members will be standing by to help you find the confidential consultation you are searching for.

When you think of the well-being of a child, you first think of basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Once these needs are met, however, it’s crucial for a child to have emotional and social wellness as well. In this article, we will explore the impact social wellness has on the overall health of a child and great ways for children to garner social support in their lives.

It comes as no surprise that as human beings, we all need connection with others, no matter what stage of life we are in. In fact, having social support is a social determinant of health (SDOH) that significantly impacts the health of an individual. After spending the last few years in and out of isolation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, social support is more important now than ever before. Having social support means having family members and friends you can talk to and seek advice from when life feels challenging and overwhelming. Knowing you’re not alone in your life journey, especially as a child, creates a sense of belonging and empowerment throughout one’s life.

4 Types of Social Support

Emotional Support. This type of support lets you know that people care about you and have empathy for your experiences. Emotional support often looks like people checking in on you to let you know they’re thinking of you, and that they are there if you need anything. As a parent, make sure your child knows you can be a sounding board for them. If you have family members who can also show up for your children in this way, even better!

Practical Help. This type of support is when people give you something tangible or offer a service to help you out. This could be in the form of money, making food when you are sick, or helping to pack when moving. Having family and friends show up in this way shows your child what it looks like to be present for people you love.

Sharing Points of View. This type of support can often come in the form of affirmations and encouragement. For example, pointing out your child’s strengths to them and reminding them they can do anything they put their mind to. It can also look like sharing another perspective if they are being hard on themselves. For example, if they are angry with themselves after receiving a bad grade on a test, you can help them see it as a learning experience and a way for them to grow.

Sharing Information. This type of support is when someone shares what they’ve learned from their own life experiences. For example, if another parent has a child who struggles with socializing, they can share some tips and tricks they’ve learned to help their child find and create social support.

The Importance of Social Groups and Extended Support

Children who are connected to their family, friends, and people in their community have opportunities to learn how to speak, share, and get along with others. When your child feels connected to people in your neighborhood, it often allows them to feel physically safe which can alleviate stress and worry. Simply riding bikes, going on walks, and saying hello to neighbors with your kids can create this sense of security for them.

In addition to engaging with your neighbors, getting involved in local organizations can also create social support for your child. Signing up for a sports team, musical theater, art class or summer camp are all great ways to help your child meet new friends and learn important social skills that can carry them through their lives.

Tips for Helping Kids Make Community Connections:

Spend time outside in your neighborhood playing on the playground, going to a local farmer’s market, or scheduling a playdate with neighborhood kids.

Show your kids that connection is a two-way street. If your neighbors or friends go out of town, offer to get their mail, or water their plants and take your child with you when you go. This will show your child how you show up for people you care about.

Make sure you make time for socializing with friends as well. Your child looks to you first and foremost for how they should act and live their own life.

Encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone and do something they may be scared to do. As a parent, it’s your job to push them into something social for their own well-being at times.