Booklet for teachers and parents of kids aged 6-11

Cyberbullying: What you and your child need to know

For caregivers of youth aged 6-11 years old

What is cyberbullying?

Children are spending more and more of their time online. At age 6 to 8, they may be starting to play games and interact with others online, use computers or devices at school, and have their own tablets or other connected devices at home. By age 11, they are interacting with others more and more online and use computers or devices at school daily.

As they become less sheltered online, your child may encounter cyberbullying: being teased, hurt or embarrassed by someone online. You can help by closely monitoring their time spent online, and by teaching your child to practice online safety, to be a good digital citizen, and to understand the consequences of cyberbullying.

What your child needs to know

Whether they learn it in school or at home, your child should know that cyberbullying:

  • Is like other forms of bullying but happens on computers and devices
  • Can happen anywhere they interact with people online, including games, apps and websites
  • Can be name-calling, mean jokes, making fun of someone, saying or sharing things that are not true or meant to be private, excluding or ganging up on someone
  • Can make someone feel bad, sad or alone
  • Can hurt people and friendships
  • Can be stopped

Nearly 3 in 4 parents say cyberbullying stopped after they took action.
Source: Cyberbullying Public Awareness Research, Environics Research Group, 2019.

What you can teach your child

It is important to talk with your children regularly to understand what they do online and set ground rules. To be safe online, you can teach them:

  • To treat everyone they meet with respect
  • Not to say anything online they wouldn’t say in real life
  • That cyberbullying is wrong and has consequences
  • To assume everything they post is public — that friends, parents, teachers and coaches may see it
  • That things they may think are temporary can be saved and shared
  • To question what they see online because people can lie or trick them
  • To protect their privacy with strong passwords and privacy settings
  • To come to you or another safe adult if they are worried, confused or threatened

If you think your child is being cyberbullied

If you suspect your child is being cyberbullied, there are things you can do to help. Keep communication open, watch for changes in your child’s behaviour, and be ready to support them and take action when the situation calls for it.

What can I look out for?

  • Changes in time spent online
  • Being more secretive about online activities
  • Appearing sad, frustrated, impatient or angry more than usual
  • Having trouble sleeping or eating
  • Avoiding or performing worse in school, activities and social situations
  • In extreme cases, suicidal thoughts and self-harm

What can I do?

  • Talk with your child about cyberbullying
    • Listen calmly
    • Support and reassure them
    • Learn the extent of the bullying
    • Tell your child not to respond to cyberbullying messages
    • Ask your child to block or break off contact with the bully
  • Document the incident
  • Report it to your child’s school, Internet Service Providers and/or social media sites, and the police as appropriate
  • Reach out for mental health support

30% youth say they’ve been cyberbullied.
Source: Cyberbullying Public Awareness Research, Environics Research Group, 2019.

Resources for caregivers

For more information on cyberbullying, you can access these resources on how to keep your child safe:

Kids Help Phone

Talk to someone at Kids Help Phone—a free, 24/7 confidential counselling, information and referrals, and support service for young people.
KidsHelpPhone.ca
Text: 686868
Call: 1-800-668-6868

Cybertip.ca

Canada's tip line for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children and access to Internet Safety Information for Youth designed for parents and educators.

NeedHelpNow.ca

NeedHelpNow.ca helps teens stop the spread of sexual picture or videos and provides support to youth.

Wellness Together Canada

For mental health support, text 741741 or visit: Wellness Together Canada.

#StopCyberbullying

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