As a child abuse prevention specialist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Amber McKeen knows bullying.
“I think some parents worry about, ‘Oh, God, what if my child is a bully, how would I know, what would I do?’,” says McKeen
The first step is to know what your child is doing online.
“I think a lot of it is talking to your kids up front. Letting them know, here are the apps you’re allowed to use. I’m going to check your phone. I’m going to check your Facebook. I need to have your passwords and those sorts of things.”
Because McKeen says even “good” kids may cyber-bully, because they don’t have see the hurt they’re causing.
“For a lot of kids, for a lot of people really, with the online you lose that sense of what the other person is feeling. You get behind that virtual wall and they think, if they don’t see the impact that it’s having on the other person, they don’t have as much empathy.”
So, what can you do, if you think your child is bullying? McKeen says start talking.
“A lot kids who are bullies have a warped sense of empathy. So, talking to them about what that really feels like, what it would feel like to be that other person,” She goes on to say “part of it is also, and something that a lot of people don’t realize, is that kids who are bullies generally tend to be really socially-skilled, and natural leaders. So, we need to find positive ways to have them be that leader, rather than being a leader and trying to keep their power from keeping others down, we put them in a positive place of power where they can do something good.”