Smart Ways to Help Your Daughter Deal with Online Bullying

Tech devices can put a whole world at your girl’s fingertips, changing the way she studies, plays, interacts with others, and learns. Teaching your girl to be a smart digital citizen empowers her to make good decisions for herself, but one thing she can’t control is the behavior of others. Unfortunately, experiencing online bullying is a reality for far too many kids.

One of the most insidious aspects of cyberbullying is that it can feel inescapable: the digital sphere isn’t limited to a single, physical space. And it can happen quietly, almost secretively. Being bullied can leave a girl doubting herself and feeling ashamed or helpless. A girl isn’t powerless, though. There’s actually a lot she can do—and here are several ways to help your girl if she encounters an online bully.

Identify bullying for what it is

How do you know it’s bullying? Whether in person or online, bullies usually repeat their mean words and aggressive actions over and over again. They want to hurt, intimidate, or humiliate others. They want power and control. Help your girl understand that these behaviors are not normal—and not something to be silent about.

Identify bullying for what it is
Offer comfort and support

Offer comfort and support

Your girl may feel bad, ashamed, or embarrassed because of the bullying, but it’s important to remember that it’s the person who’s bullying who has a problem—not her. To that end, Common Sense Media’s “Cyberbullying Tip Sheet for Parents” offers excellent advice for helping any child regain her confidence if she’s been the target of cyberbullying.

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If it feels safe, your girl can say, “I want you to stop spreading rumors about me” or “I don’t like your teasing.” But urge her to keep it simple and final: saying “I’m telling you to stop. That’s all I need to say,” is more than sufficient. The bullying may not stop, but your girl will feel more in charge of the situation.

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Special thanks to Common Sense Media for sharing their research and granting permission to link to their resources. For more, check out their “Anti-Cyberbullying Toolkit: For Parents & Families.”

Adapted from A Smart Girl’s Guide: Digital World. ©2018 American Girl.

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