My last post talked about 10 things you must teach your kids to do if they are ever the target of cyberbullying. One of them was to spend less time online – and here's why that's important.
Cyberbullies want to isolate their victims and give them a warped perspective. They will try to convince their victims that everybody hates them. Bullied kids who limit their online time lessen their exposure to these messages and can increase exposure to real-life friends who like them and think they have worth.
Curbing online activity also means spending more time participating in family activities. Whether that means playing board games or cooking or skiing or visiting the zoo, doing it as a family provides a sense of belonging that is especially important to cyberbullying victims and bullied children, making a cyberbully's withering comments less devastating.
Paradoxically, cyberbullied kids often have difficulty turning away from the abuse. They just can't stop checking their Facebook or their email or their smartphone, even though they know full well what will be there. They're not gluttons for punishment, just teenagers who really, really care what their peers think of them.
But you know better. They need to reduce time exposed to their tormentors and increase time with real-life family and friends. Even though they may protest, helping bullied kids to unplug and enjoy offline activities with friends and family might just save their lives – both figuratively and literally.