#EndBullying: common questions and guidance

It’s been a few short weeks since we launched the #EndBullying campaign and TELUS Wise Digital Pledge, and in that time we’ve received some commonly asked questions from the public who are also eager to put an end to bullying and help create a positive, friendlier world online.

What should kids do if they are being cyberbullied?

While it’s ok to be assertive and request that the mean and hurtful comments stop, it is best to avoid an argument and refrain from fighting back – this could escalate the issue and make a bad situation worse.   If a child/youth is being cyberbullied, we recommend these four steps:

  • Stop engaging with the person, and don’t fight back.
  • Block the person and their messages (if possible). You can also report the behaviour to the platform where the bullying is happening.
  • Record the messages in case they are needed later for an investigation (take screen shots).
  • Talk to a trusted adult and decide on a course of action. This may include a parent-to-parent discussion, engaging school authorities, and in more serious cases contacting your local law enforcement agency.

How can we as parents help?

Firstly, if your child is being cyberbullied, stay calm. Avoid the knee-jerk reaction to take away devices and restrict access to social media. Being connected is an integral part of the lives of today’s youth; confiscating connectivity can cause more harm than good and worsen the feelings of isolation that often come from cyberbullying.

It’s also important that a parent doesn’t escalate or report an online incident without their child’s consent. Doing so, without first aligning on a plan together, can break trust and may reduce the likelihood that your child will seek out your assistance the next time something happens. Come up with a plan together, and take action from there.

What should we do if we see someone being cyberbullied?

It’s important to remember that cyberbullying doesn’t just take place amongst youth, and we should all be aware of how to intervene when we witness it.

First, don’t ignore it or downplay cyberbullying as drama or just a joke. Second, consider the ways you can make the situation better by intervening.  Keep in mind that intervention doesn’t have to be a public affair – it can be as simple as privately reaching out to the person being targeted to let them know you saw what they experienced and you’re there for them if they need help or want to talk.  This alone can make a huge difference and won’t put you at risk of being targeted, nor will it make the situation worse.   Youth are encouraged to use the Impact tool to explore other safe and effective intervention strategies when cyberbullying is witnessed.

Take the TELUS Wise Digital Pledge

Thousands of Canadians are joining the movement to #EndBullying by taking our TELUS Wise Digital Pledge and committing to being kind online. It is truly heartwarming to read the messages people are sharing alongside their Pledges, and one that stands out for its simplicity and power is: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

If you haven’t already taken the Pledge, please do. For every Pledge taken, TELUS will give $1 to #EndBullying programs in Canada.

To learn more about Cyberbullying and how to help youth deal with this issue, please download the new TELUS Wise guide: Helping our kids deal with cyberbullying.