16 July 2018

Parental involvement in preventing and responding to cyberbullying

The aim of this paper from AIFS is to inform practitioners and other professionals of ways to help parents clarify their roles, and provide them with the tools to help their teenage children engage in responsible online behaviour. The paper noted that while there is no commonly used definition of cyberbullying, the characteristics of a power differential, repetition of behaviour, reasons for bullying and intent to harm are all similar to traditional "offline" bullying. Therefore, online bullying is a new form of an old problem. While cyberbullying is more likely to occur outside of school hours, the behaviours often carry over from home to school, and vice versa. Parents play a critical role in preventing and responding to cyberbullying. Monitoring internet use and communicating with teenage children are important strategies; however encouraging cybersafety needs to find a balance between monitoring behaviours and allowing young people to independently and age-appropriately negotiate their own boundaries. The schools that are most effective in reducing cyberbullying have excellent ongoing relationships with families and parents and actively involve young people in developing school policy.