Is your child a cyberbully?


Parents worry about their children being bullied online, but what if it is your child who is doing the bullying?

That was the question posed by a BBC reader, following a report on how children struggle to cope online.

There is plenty of information about how to deal with cyberbullies, but far less about what to do if you find out that your own child is the source.

The BBC took advice from experts and a mother who found out her daughter had been cyberbullying her school friends.

Few parents would want to admit that their child was a bully but Nicola Jenkins has gone on record with her story. You can watch her tell it here.

“Nobody thinks that their own child is saying unkind things to other children, do they? I let them go on all the social media sites and trusted the children to use it appropriately.

“Our form tutor phoned me up during school hours one day to tell me that there’d been some messages sent between my daughter and two other friends that weren’t very nice. One of the children in particular was very upset about some of the things that had been said to her.

“Her friend’s mum spoke to me about it and showed me the messages that had been sent. When I approached my daughter about it, she denied that there had been anything going on. It took a while to get it out of her, but I was angry with her once I actually found out that she had been sending these messages.

“I spoke to her teacher and to the other parents, and between us we spoke to the children to let them know that they can’t be saying unkind things and to just make them aware that whatever they do is recorded and can be kept. And they all did learn a lesson from it.

“I removed all the social media websites from her so she wasn’t able to access them for a while and then monitored her input and what she’s been saying to people.

“But it did make me feel angry and quite ashamed that my daughter could be saying things like that to her friends, but she has grown up a bit since then and she’s learnt her lesson.

“You want to trust your children, but they can get themselves into situations that they can’t get out of.

“And as they get older, they look at different things. I know my son looks at totally different things to what my daughter does, so it’s just being aware of what they are accessing and make sure that they are happy for you to look at what they are looking at as well.”