How To Deal With Bullying
Role of parents – what can you do?
- Great deal of bullying rarely occurs in front of adults.
- Parents need to actively listen and empower their children to talk about the bullying behaviour and not be afraid to speak their mind.
- Speak openly and honestly, empathize, gather information and facts.
- Break the situation down – but don’t turn a molehill into a big mountain.
- Take notes, record the responses, ask questions: what happened, who is involved, when did it occur, what did you do and who did you speak to?
- Deal with feelings first and reassure your support.
- Early intervention is the best solution. Should you notice symptoms or signs – do something – take action – ask for help if you can’t manage.
- Speak to the child care/kindergarten teacher, school or organisation involved (ask to see their bullying policy).
- Ensure your child develops resilience and empathy by being assertive and having good communication skills.
- Your child should understands the consequences of bullying as perpetrator or victim.
- Don’t add to the problem, stay calm and seek assistance, reassure it’s ok to express feelings.
- Don’t advise or suggest that your child react or retaliate – often bullies will want a reaction. Bullies prefer the victim keep quiet as this is their way of maintaining control.
- Develop your understanding and skills of bullying and social media – often there is a gap between the parents interpretation and understanding to that of their child’s.
How to prevent Cyber Bullying?
- Block the bully and ask them to stop making contact;
- Resist the temptation to react or retaliate, don’t be the perpetrator, don’t open, respond or reply to messages from the bully. If bullies don’t receive a response they will more than likely give up;
- Do not send or show offensive and inappropriate content, messages, pictures, or videos about others online;
- Maintain a record of harassing messages/replies, as evidence and report to appropriate authorities i.e. teacher, parent, internet service provider (ISP), police or talk to a trusted friend;
- Think before posting name, address, phone number, details of family/friends and personal photographs or videos online;
- Be aware that strangers can download, store, share/forward your personal information to others, which has the potential to create more avenues for bullying, harassment and intimidation;
- Do not open spam messages or click on prize offers, hyperlinks and popups that offer free or discounted items as this could be a virus or Trojan.
Report Cyber Bullying
Be an upstander, not a bystander. Bullying affects 1 in 5 Australians and it’s our responsibility to stop and prevent it. Bullying behaviour can stop in under 10 seconds if the upstander intervenes and takes assertive action. Never allow the bully to get away with thinking that no one will help. Step in, stand up, report it and inform the bully that their behavior is not acceptable.
Doing nothing sends a clear message to the bully that their behavior is acceptable, be part of the solution.
Role of Police
If the bullying behaviour is causing distress, harm, humiliation, threats to harm and is increasing, then contact with Police should be made. Police will establish if an offence has been committed, investigate further and take relevant action under state and or federal law.
If an offence is committed, it’s the duty of police to investigate and determine the best avenue for dealing with perpetrators utilising formalised procedures and processes.
Each case is dealt on its merits and the underlying philosophy of police in Australia is based on harm minimisation, in particular where children are involved. Police in all states take bullying seriously and will act depending on the situation.
Police are committed to provide undivided support to ensure the welfare, safety and wellbeing of children, including both victim and offender is protected and maintained.
What can parents can do?
- Ensure your child is legally permitted to hold an account and or engage with certain social networking sites or app’s;
- Talk to your child, ask what platforms they are currently using, who their friends are and to choose online friends wisely;
- Develop your social media skills, and ask to join your Childs preferred network (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Istagram);
- Understand, social media platforms i.e. how to create a status, upload content, check in services and privacy (basic social networking functions);
- Suggest they make their personal information exactly that – private and not visible to strangers;
- Educate them- ask your child to stop, look, and think before posting any content that could be deemed inappropriate;
- Explain that they must gain permission from their friends or family to post pictures, videos or any other content that does not involve them directly;
- Don’t be afraid to talk to your child about peer pressure and how they should not be persuaded to post inappropriate content, such as photos or videos of themselves and or content that is personal or unsafe for online use.
- Consider parental controls, filtering software or effective strategies to respond to inappropriate online behaviour. The Foundation has partners offering software that can respond to specific needs;
Confiscating your Childs Smartphone or their access to social media is not a solution and the Foundation does not advise this as a remedy. Rather, we suggest responsible usage, open and honest communication to promote responsible usage. The Foundation offers workshops and seminars to educate students and adults about cyber safety.
IF YOU’RE HAVING TROUBLE WITH BULLYING – call the 24 Hour Hotline - 1800 0 Bully (28 559). The hotline provides general information and support, is confidential and staff are trained.
The ‘Zero Bullying Pledge’ encourages parents, children, teachers and the general public to pledge ‘I Stand for Zero Bullying’ and have the discussion about bullying.