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My daughter a cyberbully, how can I get her to stop this behavior?

Diana K. Blythe, MD
Pediatrics
If your daughter is a cyberbully, start by letting her know that you do not accept that behavior and any sign of it will result in loss of computer/texting privileges. This only helps the act of her cyberbullying however and does not tell you why she is doing it.
Make sure she knows you love her no matter her behavior and that you are simply disappointed. Open the lines of communication and ask her how she would feel if the person being bullied was her younger sibling or a friend of hers. If you can get her to empathize with the person being bullied, you are more likely to get her to change her behavior and stop the bullying. If all you do is take away the computer, she will simply bully in other ways.

Many teens have been the cyberbully as well as the target of a cyberbully. It’s important to lay out your expectations of how you want your teen to treat others. At the same time be sensitive to your teen’s feelings and find out what caused her to lash out at the other person. Help her work through ways to express herself other than attacking someone when she’s upset. 

Parents, you play a key role in whether or not your child becomes a bully. Teens report that they are more likely to bully others if they feel their parents are frequently angry at them or if they feel that they are a nuisance to their parents. Parents who have a good relationship and talk openly with their kids raise kids who are less likely to bully others. Why? Teens need positive adult guidance and support, plus your input matters to your teen. So, make time in your schedule to spend with your teen. Also, monitor what your teen is doing on-line. Bullies can become vicious if they're shielded by a screen. 

Tips for Parents

  1. Have open communication with your teen. Know what's going on in his/her life.
  2. If you suspect your teen is misusing the computer set up monitoring systems. Create blocks on your computer to sites that you don't want your teen to visit.
  3. Write a computer and cell phone contract and outline the consequences if your teen violates it.
  4. Request the username and password of all emails, accounts, and social networking sites that your teen is using. Let your teen know to never share his or her password and username with others besides you.
  5. Set up Google alerts for your teen's name and do periodic internet searches on your teen's friends. You may be surprised at what you find.
  6. If your teen receives threatening messages, texts, etc. Always keep a copy. Never ever delete them. If this harassment continues, report it.
  7. Contact hosting sites to report violation of use. Many times these sites will revoke access to users who have misused their site.

 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.