The Australian Institute of Family Studies has released a paper 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.
As per the Australian Institute of Family Studies website, the key messages emerging from the paper are:
- There is no commonly used definition of cyberbullying, but the characteristics of a power differential, repetition of behaviour, reasons for bullying and intent to harm are all similar to traditional “offline” bullying.
- Cyberbullying is more likely to occur outside of school hours, but the behaviours often carry over from home to school, and vice versa.
- It is unclear whether cyberbullying is more or less harmful than “offline” bullying. The literature indicates that some young people may underplay or deny the harm, or shrug it off, but others experienced decreases in mental health.
- Parents play a critical role in preventing and responding to cyberbullying. Monitoring Internet use and communicating with teenage children are important strategies.
- Efforts to encourage cybersafety need to find a balance between monitoring behaviours and allowing young people to independently and age-appropriately negotiate their own boundaries.
- The relationship between parents and schools is increasingly important in addressing cyberbullying and responding to incidents. Parents can be encouraged to familiarise themselves with school policy and cybersafety education initiatives, including responsible use policies.
- The schools that are most effective in reducing cyberbullying have excellent ongoing relationships with families and parents and young people are actively involved in developing policy.
- Online bullying is a new form of an old problem rather than a product of the technology itself.
To download the paper, click here.