How to Respond to Cyberbully - A Guide for Parents

CTIA and its member companies offer information on how to identify, stop and prevent cyberbullying and to help empower parents so they can advise their kids on how to respond.

Identify Cyberbullying

  • Cyberbullying may come from many sources including phone calls, text messages, social networks or other interactive websites. It may come in many forms that may be either obvious or subtle. To learn how to identify cyberbullying, visit one of the websites linked here.
  • If parents don’t recognize cyberbullying, parents may be surprised to find that their kids are being bullied or are bullying. In a recent comScore study, only nine percent of parents said they were aware that their kids were being cyberbullied, even though other studies (Pew Internet and Cyberbullying Research Center) found that 12 percent to 20 percent of kids said they had seen bullying online.
  • There are a number of resources and tools to help parents educate themselves and their kids so they can determine the best response to cyberbullying. 
  • For additional information and educational resources, click here
  • For wireless parental control tools, click here.

Prevent Cyberbullying

  • Wireless service providers offer parents the ability to choose what, when, where and how their kids use their wireless devices and services. BEFORE giving kids wireless devices, parents should learn how to limit or restrict the products and services that may not be appropriate for their kids. CTIA lists many of the tools and features that are available and wireless service providers also offer a lot of information.
  • Whether kids are being bullied or bullying, the wireless industry offers a number of management and monitoring tools and apps that parents can use on their kids' wireless devices to help prevent cyberbullying. For example, limiting voice calls or text messages to parent approved phone numbers can reduce their kid’s exposure to unwanted messages.
  • For a list of parental content management and monitoring features, click here.
  • In addition, some parents may sign up for the same online services that their kids use. For example, parents that permit their kids to use social networking sites and interactive games may “friend,” “follow” or “link” to their kids' online accounts. Keeping an eye on their kids' online worlds may also provide insights into their offline worlds.

Stand Up Against Cyberbullying

  • Bullying may be difficult for both parents and kids to discuss, but it is very important to be clear about what parents and kids expect and to keep the lines of communication open.
  • Parents and kids can agree to clear family rules about what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior on a cellphone, smartphone or other wireless device.
  • Kids should feel comfortable talking with a parent about the messages and images that are sent and received on their cellphone or other wireless devices.
  • It can be hard for parents to react appropriately to a cyberbullying situation without a complete understanding of all sides of a situation. So it's important parents get the facts before reacting.
  • Alert the appropriate law enforcement and school/school district administrators if a child is in immediate danger caused by cyberbullying. There may be state anti-bullying laws or school policies that would impose consequences for the bully.
20% of media consumption by 8 to 18-year-olds occurs on mobile devices

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