A lot of warning signs can be tough for parents to detect, so it’s crucial to keep an open dialogue with your child. I understand how challenging it can be to find time to sit down and talk during a jam-packed day, and it’s rarely easy to get and hold the attention of a teen or preteen who has better things to do than sit around and talk to mom and dad, but I can’t stress enough how important this is. You should get in the habit of regularly asking your child things like how their day was, what happened at school, if they saw somebody being bullied, if they helped that child, and how their friends are doing. This will open conversations and connections. Studies show that having a concerned, open, loving relationship at home provides increased resilience for children who are experiencing bullying. (Kids who feel supported are also more confident and less likely to be bullied in the first place.)
Additionally, I strongly recommend that you educate your children about acceptable online behavior; in addition, you should have the passwords for their computers, phones and any active social media platforms and regularly monitor their activity. This is especially necessary for elementary and middle school aged-children, but I believe it should be applied to high school students as well, since this is when cyberbullying peaks.