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Cyberbullying: parents and carers guide

This information helps parents and carers prevent and respond to cyberbullying and support their children.

Most children and young people do the right thing when they use digital technology. Digital technology can be used for:

  • education and finding information
  • creativity and self-expression
  • play
  • social connection.

Children and young people don’t always get it right. Sometimes they use digital technology the wrong way. One way is by cyberbullying others. Cyberbullying involves:

  • misuse of power in a relationship
  • behaviour that is repeated or can be repeated
  • behaviour that causes harm.

Encourage online safety with your child

Parents and carers play a key role in supporting their child to be safe online. Parents and carers can help children form good online habits by doing the following.

  • Setting clear expectations about online behaviours with your child. This can be done through a family technology agreement. You can download a family tech agreement from eSafety. Agreements can include:
    • acceptable and unacceptable websites and apps
    • safety and privacy control settings
    • time limits
    • places in the house where devices can be used
    • how to treat others online
    • a plan of what to do if they become involved in cyberbullying or something else goes wrong.
  • Use parental controls on devices to block, filter and monitor online content and activities. Parental controls are most effective when used with other strategies.
  • Have open and regular discussions about what your child is doing and seeing online. Encourage them to share their online interests and activities with you. Children and young people feel more comfortable talking about problems if they are already talking about positive experiences.
  • Use digital technology together. Children and young people use technology as a way to express themselves. They build and strengthen connections to others online. Be involved in your child’s online world and strengthen your online relationship with them, as well as your offline relationship.
  • Speak with your child’s school about their cyberbullying and bullying prevention policy. Find out how your school teaches online safety and respectful relationships.
  • Learn more about digital technology, cyberbullying and online safety. This can increase your knowledge and confidence about the online world. Libraries, local councils and schools may hold information sessions. Reliable resources about online safety and cyberbullying are provided below.

Conversation starters to use with your child

Conversations with your child about cyberbullying are an important way of keeping them safe. Use these starters to help get the conversation going.

Check on your child’s understanding

  • What is cyberbullying?
  • When is cyberbullying against the law?
  • What does your school say about cyberbullying?

Find out if your child has been involved

  • Have you ever been bullied online? What about other kids at school?
  • Have you ever bullied someone online? Is that ever okay?
  • Do you ever get harassed or bullied when you’re playing a game online?
  • Have you ever told someone that their online behaviour is not ok?

Find out if your child knows what to do

  • What would you do if someone cyberbullied you?
  • If a friend was being cyberbullied, what could you do?
  • How do you report bullying and cyberbullying at your school?
  • If someone was being cyberbullied, how would you get help from an adult?
  • What can I do to help you if you are involved in cyberbullying?

Learn about your child’s knowledge about online safety

  • How do you report cyberbullying on the apps and social media you use?
  • Do you know how to have cyberbullying content removed by eSafety?
  • How do you block someone who is being abusive or mean online?
  • Cyberbullying is one bad thing that can happen online, are there are things that can go wrong?

Cyberbullying support and resources

Bullying. No Way!

Advice for families about preventing and responding to bullying  

eSafety Commissioner

Advice for families about online safety  

Kids Helpline

Phone and online counselling service for people aged 5 to 25  

1800 55 1800 – Anytime. Any reason.

Headspace

Phone and online support and counselling service for people aged 12 to 25  

1800 650 890 – mental health and wellbeing support.

Engagement and Wellbeing

Email: education.engagementandwellbeing [at] sa.gov.au