70% of teens reported being cyberbullied at least once in 2013. Cyberbullying is defined as the use of electronic communication to bully another individual. It is known to cause anxiety, depression, pain, and insecurity; and has led to teen suicides or suicide attempts. Thankfully, teens and parents can take measures to stop cyberbullying. If your teen is cyberbullied, reassure them and  remind them they have a safe place to collect themselves before they react to the situation. From there, record all instances, cut off engagement, and report all incidents. Be your teen’s strongest ally.

How do you know if your teen is being cyberbullied?

Only 16% of parents are aware of cyberbullying incidents involving their teen. Teens might hide occurrences because they are embarrassed or worry about their parents’ reaction. A few warning signs may indicate your teen is cyberbullied:

  • Exhibits mood swings or uncharacteristic behavior after internet or cell phone use
  • Avoids activities they previously enjoyed
  • Makes lower grades unexpectedly
  • Refuses to attend school
  • Checks phone far less than they use to

Nobody should experience cyberbullying or face it alone. Talk to your teen about the issue and let them know they can come to your for anything. If your teen needs help to overcome and stop cyberbullying, these five steps can help.

1.     Teach teen to not respond

Telling teens to ignore cyberbullying is easier said than done. 21% of teens check social media solely to see if someone was saying mean things about them. Often, cyberbullies just want a reaction. If your teen does not react, the bully does not get the “thrill” for which they are looking and will move on. Responding to the bully with rude, angry or any type of comment only encourages more bullying. And any rude or derogatory comments your teen makes may haunt them later.

2.     Record all cyberbullying

Track all incidents of harassment towards your teen, especially anything threatening. Monitor the progression of the cyberbullying, log ALL incidents, and collect evidence. Print a hard copy of all cyberbullying incidents if possible.

Take photos or screenshots of:

  • Time and date cyberbullying occurred
  • Cyber channel(s) used (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.)
  • Profile of the individual doing the cyberbullying

Contact the website where cyberbullying occurs and report all incidents to the site host.

3.     Reach out

If you witness your teen being victimized online or notice warning signs, talk to your teen. Ask them what is happening and how they’re feeling. Instruct teens follow the steps above if they’re not already. 66% of teens have witnessed cyberbullying and saw others join in. If you see your teen’s friends are subjected to cyberbullying, reach out through a private message or inform their parents. Ask your teen to take action as well.

4.     Block cyberbullies on social media

After you have documented the bullying with screen shots, photos, and written logs, it may be time to block the bully from seeing your teen online and vice versa.  Blocking people on social media is easy.  Either click on a person’s profile or settings icon and select the ‘block’ option. Watch the video above for how to block on specific media sites.

You can block people on smartphones as well.  iPhones have a built-in feature to block numbers. If your teen uses an android phone, they may download one of the many apps available to block numbers. Phone companies will also block a phone number for you.

5.     Report cyberbullying

Many websites will ban cyberbullies from their site once it’s reported. Report the cyberbullying with detailed evidence. The site will review the claim and take action.

If a fellow classmate is the offender, report their cyberbullying to school administrators. When cyberbullying turns racist or threatening, all incidents should be reported to the police.

Additional tips on how to stop cyberbullying

These additional tips can also help protect your teen from cyberbullying:

Cyberbullying is a dangerous, modern-day threat that can have effects such as depression, helplessness, and a feeling of isolation. Teens victimized by bullies are also twice as likely to commit suicide. Too much is at stake to let the cyberbullying continue if is shows up in your teen’s world.