What You Need to Know About Cyberbullying

Jim Steyer: Hi I’m Jim Steyer, the father
of four kids and the founder of Common Sense Media and I can assure you that the former
job is a lot tougher than the latter. Now one of the many things that we do here at
Common Sense is to provide information to help parents navigate the crazy digital world
that is so much a part of our kids’ lives today and one of the biggest issues out there
right now is cyberbullying Jim Steyer: My wife and I know very well that
as parents, it can be really difficult to know what to do if you suspect that your own
child is involved in some sort of cyberbullying. So here, straight from the mouths of some
of our own Common Sense Media parents are our top five tips on how to deal with cyberbullying. Female Parent: If you’ve picked up a newspaper
or watched the TV lately you’ve probably heard the tragic stories about cyberbullying. But
what you may not hear about are the everyday acts of cruelty that happen when a joke gets
carried too far or when kids say mean things just to draw attention to themselves. Male Parent: Kids now use instant messages,
photo tags, wall posts, tweets, and texts to hurt and shame each other. What makes this
type of bullying so disturbing is that it is not just limited to the school yard. It
can happen anywhere, anytime and all the time. Cyberbullies often remain anonymous and their
online taunts are extremely public. Something mean can go viral in a matter of seconds. Female Parent: And unlike a playground brawl
where one bully targets a victim, cyberbulling involves everyone. Kids can play different
roles at different times. They can be the bully or the target and even those who seem
uninvolved play a part. They are either bystanders, who quietly witness these mean acts or upstanders,
who either stick up for the victim or try to stop the bullying. Male Parent: All of this makes finding a solution
to cyberbullying even more challenging. Kids are increasingly living their lives online
and on their phones. So simply telling them to stop instant messaging or make them give
up their cell phones isn’t the answer. Female Parent: As parents we have to help
our kids realize they can play a role in stopping cyber cruelty. Here are five tips to help
you prevent, protect and deal with cyberbullying. Female Parent: First, teach your kids empathy.
Nothing drives home a point faster than walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. If your kids
truly understand what someone else is going through they are less likely to bully others
or standby and watch as others get bullied. Male Parent: Second, help your kids understand
the line between funny and cruel. Kids often don’t think before they post, text or email.
What is intended as a joke could end up hurting someone else. If drama starts brewing, ask
your kid to talk to their friend to clear it up. Female Parent: Third, make sure they talk
to someone. Even if its’ not you. Of course we want our kids to talk to us first but if
that’s not an option encourage your kids to find a responsible adult they can confide
in. That could be their school counselor, their music teacher or even a friend’s parent. Male Parent: Fourth, help your kid be an upstander
not a bystander. Kids are often hesitant to get involved lest the bully turn their sights
on them. But there are other ways your kids can help. They can reach out the victim or
get an adult involved. Female Parent: Finally, show your kid how
to stop it. Tell them not to respond or retaliate to cyberbullying. Not feeding the bully can
stop the cycle and if anything does happen it is always a good idea to save the evidence. Male Parent: There is no escaping the fact
that like adults kids are spending most of their waking hours online or on their phones. Female Parent: That’s why it becomes even
more important for us as parents to teach them how to responsibly and respectfully communicate
using these tools. Female Parent: Since a lot of their communication
happens out of view, its’ a good idea to check in with your kids about how they communicate
with their peers. Male Parent: Remind them that the same rules
that apply to the real world behavior, also extends to their digital lives. A good rule
of thumb is to treat others the way they would like to be treated. Female Parent: Following these simple steps
will make a difference in your kids’ lives and the lives of others. For more advice and
tips visit us at commonsense.org.