Cyberbullying Response Strategies: What Now?

By | Published On: 14 January 2024 | 6.1 min read |

As parents, there’s nothing more heart-wrenching than witnessing our children in distress. The tears, the heartache, the self-doubt, and the shame they feel are experiences we desperately wish to shield them from. Gone are the days when the source of their sorrow was just Timmy from down the road, where a stern word with his parents or teaching our kids to stand their ground could resolve the issue. 

Back then, even a not-so-publicly-admitted one-two combo might have been considered to protect our little ones from being pushed around. We equipped them with every trick in the book to face bullies head-on, to not back down, and to stand their ground. But what happens when the bully isn’t just down the street but could be miles away, hidden behind a screen, or might not even be a child at all?

This new digital threat is a far cry from the bicycle gangs and outdoor play of our own childhoods. For many of us parents, facing this unseen enemy leaves us feeling like a deer caught in headlights, unsure of how to act or protect our homes and children. This article aims to arm you with constructive tools to tackle this modern menace, ensuring the safety and well-being of your children in a world where threats no longer just come knocking on your door but can infiltrate your home through the very screens we use to learn, work, and play.

Recognising the Signs of Cyberbullying

In the digital playground where interactions are hidden behind screens, recognising the signs of cyberbullying can be challenging. Unlike physical bullying, the evidence is not always as apparent. However, subtle changes in your child’s behaviour can signal that something is amiss. Here are some signs to watch for:

  • Withdrawal from Family and Friends: A sudden change in who they spend time with or a lack of desire to interact can be a red flag.
  • Changes in Mood: Look for signs of sadness, anger, or frustration that seem out of character, especially after using their devices.
  • Avoidance of School or Social Situations: A reluctance to attend school or social events might indicate they’re avoiding a bully.
  • Unexplained Aches and Illnesses: Stress and anxiety caused by bullying can manifest in physical symptoms.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Difficulty sleeping or nightmares could be a sign of worry.
  • Changes in Online Behaviour: This could include a sudden disinterest in devices or social media, secretive behaviour when online, or a noticeable increase in screen time.

Approaching Your Child About Cyberbullying

Discovering your child might be experiencing cyberbullying is a moment filled with emotion. Approaching them about it requires sensitivity, understanding, and patience. Here’s how to start the conversation:

  • Choose the Right Moment: Find a quiet, private time to talk, ensuring you won’t be interrupted or rushed.
  • Express Your Concerns Gently: Start by sharing what you’ve noticed about their behaviour that concerns you, without immediately jumping to conclusions about bullying.
  • Listen More Than You Speak: Give them space to share their feelings and experiences. Listening without judgment shows them they’re supported and not alone.
  • Reassure Them: Let them know it’s not their fault and that you’re there to help them through this. Emphasize that they’re not in trouble and that dealing with bullying is a challenge you’ll tackle together.
  • Discuss Next Steps Together: Rather than taking over, work with your child to decide how to address the bullying. This could involve contacting their school, adjusting privacy settings on social media, or seeking advice from professionals.

Remember, the goal is to make your child feel safe, supported, and understood. By recognising the signs and approaching the topic with care, you can open up a dialogue that leads to resolution and healing.

Empowering Responses: Navigating Cyberbullying with Confidence

After recognising the signs and understanding the nature of cyberbullying, as detailed in “The Evolution of Cyberbullying: Strategies for Parents and Educators,” the next step is empowering our children with the knowledge of what to do when they encounter cyberbullying. This means shifting the focus from prevention to action, providing children with clear, practical strategies for responding to cyberbullying incidents.

Document and Report

Encourage children to document instances of cyberbullying by taking screenshots or saving communications. This evidence is crucial for reporting the behaviour to social media platforms, school authorities, or even law enforcement if necessary. The NSPCC’s “Report Remove” service, as previously discussed, offers a pathway for young people to seek help in removing harmful content. Additionally, the National Bullying Helpline suggests keeping a record of all bullying incidents, including dates, times, and the nature of the bullying, as this can be invaluable when seeking support or taking action.

Open Communication Channels

Stress the importance of talking to a trusted adult about any cyberbullying experiences. Children should know they’re not alone and that reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. This ties back to fostering an environment of open dialogue, where children feel comfortable sharing their online experiences without fear of judgement or repercussions. The National Bullying Helpline emphasises the significance of not responding or retaliating to the bully, as this can often escalate the situation.

Empowerment Through Education

Teach children how to use the privacy and reporting features on social media platforms and online games. Understanding how to block or report a bully empowers children to take control of their online interactions. This educational approach reinforces their autonomy and resilience, equipping them with the tools to protect themselves and others online. The National Bullying Helpline recommends familiarising yourself and your child with the terms and conditions of social media platforms, particularly the sections on bullying and harassment.

Building Emotional Resilience

Discuss strategies for managing the emotional impact of cyberbullying, such as talking to friends, engaging in offline activities they enjoy, and practising mindfulness or relaxation techniques. Emotional resilience is key to recovering from cyberbullying incidents and maintaining mental well-being. Encouraging open discussions about feelings and providing reassurance can help children feel supported and understood.

Community and Peer Support

Encourage children to support peers who may be experiencing cyberbullying. Fostering a culture of kindness and respect online contributes to a safer digital environment for everyone. Community engagement, both online and offline, plays a vital role in combating cyberbullying. The National Bullying Helpline suggests creating a support network of friends, family, and teachers who can offer advice and support.


As we navigate the complexities of the digital age, it’s clear that equipping our children with response strategies to cyberbullying is as important as teaching them how to avoid it. By providing them with the tools to document, report, and seek support, we empower them to act confidently against cyberbullying. The Security Everywhere team, alongside resources like the National Bullying Helpline, is committed to supporting families in this journey, offering guidance to ensure children not only survive but thrive in their digital interactions. For more information or assistance, please contact us. Together, we can create a safer, more supportive online world for our children.

For further advice and support on dealing with cyberbullying, visit The National Bullying Helpline.


For more information or assistance, please contact us at Security Everywhere. We’re here to help you enhance your online security and manage your child’s online activity.

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