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Strategies for Coping with Bullying

For many, being teased was almost a right of passage, which we all experienced at some point in our lives. It never felt good and but in some cases this teasing turned more serious and became bullying. Fortunately more and more schools are taking a no tolerence policy on bullying, but there cannot be constant 24-hour supervision at school and often bullying still occurs. Compounding this problem is vast and constant connectivity which the Internet and social media provides people. So the bullying is not stopping at school but instead following children home and actually magnifying it.

This issue struck home with me while I was conducting an online contest for my online retail company UsTrendy. We asked customers to post photos of themselves on social media in their clothing items from our site. Immediately we noticed a lot of negative comments and cyberbullying at an alarming rate. This experience prompted me to launch the non-profit, Believe in Yourself to combat cyberbullying and empower young women to develop a positive self-image. The nonprofit stages events in various cities and brings in experts to speak with young women about cyberbullying.

Kids who are experiencing or witnessing cyberbullying need to know how to respond. Below are strategies that parents can adopt to help their kids: 

  • Never respond. Silence goes a long way. Often a response can lead to more bullying so it's best to not respond. Ask your child ignore all bullying. if possible, delete any harassing comments along with block the bully online.
  • Keep a record of all the bullying. Take a screen shot of the cyberbullying and save it. It is always a good idea to have documentation of all the bullying, which occurs. in the event you and your child want to involve the school or other authorities (for severe cases)
  • Have your child take a break from social media. Have them put down their phone or get off their computer and do something not related to electronics. It can be a freeing experience to explore other activities and take a break fro being online.
  • Encourage your child to explore new hobbies, such as sports, a musical instrument, or any other activity, which limits their free time to spend on social media.
  • Encourage them to stand up for their peers. Have a proactive conversation with your child about bullying. Encourage your child to have their peers’ back.  If your child sees cyberbullying, he or she needs to denounce it publicly. Bullies are looking for others to join in or for positive reinforcement if they don’t receive it then often times they will stop.
  • Encourage your child to start a different trend, by being positive toward others publicly on social media. For instance, have your child make positive comments on their peers’ social media posts daily.