Online bullying can cause children distress and impact their self-esteem.
Online bullying can cause children distress and impact their self-esteem. monkeybusinessimages

What to do if your child is being bullied online

ONCE confined to the school yard, bullying now takes place behind screens and online profiles with parents urged to learn more about their children's internet habits.

Cyberbullying can cause distress and impact a child's self-esteem and confidence, with website ThinkUKnow giving tips to parents whose children may be getting bullied online.

Online bullying comes in many forms and may include:

  • Posting defamatory messages on social networking sites;
  • Spreading rumours online;
  • Excluding a young person from an online group; and
  • Sending unwanted messages, either by text, instant messaging or email.

If a child is being bullied or you believe they're having problems online, parents are recommended to:

  • Talk to your children about cyber bullying and conflict they may have experienced.
  • Help build resilience to deal with nasty one-off comments.
  • Be aware of what your child is doing online. It is like supervising children in public spaces - being a responsible parent means teaching them appropriate behaviours.
  • Share online activities with your children. This helps keeps the lines of communication open so your child can talk to you if something is worrying them.
  • Place the computer in a shared or visible place in the home.
  • Keep evidence of bullying behaviour such as instant messenger conversations or online posts. Help your child block anyone that sends offensive content.
  • Report content to the site on which it occurred and if it is not removed within 48 hours, report it to the Office of the Children's e-Safety Commissioner

The ThinkUKnow website is full of information and tips for online activities and includes a Family Online Safety Contract.