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Fighting Cyberbullying: Tips from MediaSmarts

by We Inspire Futures Team

MediaSmarts is a Canadian not-for-profit charitable organization for digital and media literacy, and is one of the partners of Facebook’s Be Bold: Stop Bullying campaign that launched in conjunction with Bullying Awareness Week. Their website offers many articles and resources that provide more insight into cyber-bullying.  See an excerpt below on their strategies for fighting cyber-bullying.

Cyber-bullying is everyone’s business and the best response is a pro-active or preventative one. From the outset, we can reduce the risks associated with Internet use if we engage in an open discussion with our children about their online activities and set up rules that will grow along with them.

  • Both schools and homes should create an online agreement or contract for computer use, with input from students or children. Make sure your agreement contains clear rules about ethical online behaviour.  Research has shown that bullying rates drop when kids know that it is against the rules and how to report it. [1]
  • With younger children who visit games sites, rules should deal with online interaction: never provide personal information and don’t share passwords with friends.
  • For teenagers, online social activity is intense. This is the time to discuss the nature of your teen’s online interaction and, more specifically, his or her responsible use of the Internet. Sexting can easily lead to cyber-bullying, particularly if the relationship sours.

Whether your child is a tween or a teen, talk to them about responsible Internet use:

  • Teach them to never post or say anything on the Internet that they wouldn’t want the whole world – including you – to read.
  • Talk to them about reaching out to an adult at the first sign of a threat. Don’t take for granted that your child will: only 8 per cent of teens who have been bullied online have told their parents. [2]
  • Chill! Kids refuse to confide in their parents because they fear that once they find out about the cyber-bullying, they will take away their Internet or cell phone. [3]
  • Teach your children that what goes on online is everyone’s business. Let them know that action must be taken when faced with cyber-bullying. Not reporting it is tantamount to approving it.
  • Encourage kids to speak out against bullying when they encounter it. Popular sites like Facebook and YouTube provide tools to report inappropriate content, and the “comments” features associated with individual pages can provide opportunities for witnesses to speak out.

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For more articles and resources about cyberbullying go to

Related articles:

“OMG You Suck!” – Preventing Cyber-bullying in the Classroom

Taking the Message to the School Community: Bullying Lesson Part 3

Discussing internet safety with teenagers can be tricky. How do you suggest teachers start meaningful conversations with teenagers?

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