Cyberbullying is a major problem that comes hand in hand with modern life and social networking. Many children are struggling to handle life with cyberbullying and it has a negative impact on their mental health, contributing to depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and low self-esteem. It can be difficult for foster carers to know how to help in these situations. The NSPCC have shared some very useful tips that can be of use. Here are 5 tips for foster carers and parents that can be helpful for children dealing with cyberbullying.
5 Tips for Foster Carers and Parents
- Start the conversation flowing. Cyberbullying and bullying can be discussed to help encourage children to open up about their own experiences. Ensure the conversation remains calm and listen carefully to what’s being said. If the child in your care informs you that they’re being bullied be sure to check in with them often and let them know that you are there for them and ready to talk at any time.
- Share information on who the child in your care can talk to if they need help and are not able to discuss it with you. Make sure they understand that you are happy to talk, but if they find it difficult there are other adults out there who will listen, including their teachers, social work team and Childline. Childline can be contacted on the phone, live chat and email.
- Encourage relaxation and stepping away from social media and modern-day pressures. Start a new hobby or activity to help increase confidence and give them reassurance that they are cared for and loved. Find activities that they enjoy, which could be something as simple as listening to music or perhaps playing a sport.
- Teach online safety as soon as the child in your care begins using the Internet. Encourage older children to have time away from their phone and screen, but don’t enforce the rule. It’s important for the child to feel they can be open about their online activities and not have to hide it from you. There’s plenty of age-appropriate information on how to stay safe online available from Thinkuknow.
- Talk to the school about the bullying and begin gathering evidence to show the type of bullying that is taking place. Let the teachers know about the impact the bullying is having on the child and ask to see a copy of the school’s anti-bullying policy.
Find out more about how you can help a child being affected by cyberbullying over on the NSPCC website.