Prevent cyberbullying

Advice to get ahead of cyberbullying among kids

The impact of cyberbullying can be devastating to a young person. So, starting conversations about online safety as early as possible can help prevent cyberbullying from happening to your child.

Learn how to prevent cyberbullying and protect your child.
Display video transcript
the best way to keep your child safe
online is to take an active interest in
their digital life from the start have
regular conversations about what they do
online to build trust and understanding
of what they are experiencing help them
understand that their behavior online
should reflect what they do in the real
world and how talk about the potential
consequences of what they see and do
online along with the stickiness of the
web making it hard to remove things they
share last but not least make them aware
of privacy settings and reporting
functions when the platform's they use
to help them manage what we see do and
share online putting all these tips into
will help them make safer choices online
but when things go wrong there are
always things you can do to help

4 quick tips for cyberbullying prevention

Start conversations early

Have age-appropriate conversations

No matter your child’s age, you can talk about cyberbullying. Doing this will help them:

  • recognise bullying behaviours
  • know when and how to report those behaviours
  • have positive online experiences.

Explore our conversation guides to learn more.

How can I protect a vulnerable child?

All children can enjoy the benefits of getting online with the right support. In fact, children with vulnerabilities report more positive impacts from going online than children without vulnerabilities. So, if bullying happens online, taking away their access can have additional negative impacts.

If your child has a disability or other vulnerability, it’s important to offer them the right support. In most cases, this support won’t look too different from that which is given to children without vulnerabilities. However, they might more guidance and check-ins.

Explore ways to support children with learning difficulties as they take ownership of their online safety.

Set parental controls

Parental controls can help prevent cyberbullying

Around 1 in 10 children experience cyberbullying from people they don’t know. This number increases to nearly 2 in 5 for children with vulnerabilities, according to our research.

Compared to other harms, this number is quite low. However, the impact of cyberbullying is much higher when compared with other online harms. In fact, 55% of children who have experienced cyberbullying from strangers say it has a high impact.

As such, setting parental controls is a good way to prevent cyberbullying, especially from strangers. You can limit who can contact your child, how your child can communicate and what sites or apps they can access.

Explore our range of step-by-step parental controls guides here.

Learn about cyberbullying

Stay on top of cyberbullying

It’s important to fully understand the issues you want to protect your child from. Therefore, learning what you can about cyberbullying can help prevent it. Not only will you know what to watch out for, but your child will too. And that means they will know when it’s time to come to you for help.

Learn about cyberbullying.

Staying safe on social media

Download this infographic that shows the best ways to create a secure social media account that can prevent cyberbullying.


How to prevent cyberbullying

Explore the different ways you can prevent cyberbullying and protect your child online.

Talk about cyberbullying

The best way to protect your child is getting actively involved in their digital life. For some parents, this can mean accessing children’s messages and social media profiles and for others, it can mean managing the parental controls to limit what they can access.

However, parental controls and device safety is only part of the picture. The most effective way to support children’s online safety is to have regular conversations. Here are some talking points to get you started:

See guidance for talking about cyberbullying

Get age-specific tips and advice on talking about online bullying to help prevent it from happening.

What do they want to do online?

Before having a conversation about online safety, it’s important to establish what your child wants to do online. Do they want to connect with friends through social media or just play games? Are they going to use the internet to research their homework. Have an honest conversation about what they want and decide what you’re happy with them exploring.

Agree what actions your child will take if they see/ experience cyberbullying

Agreeing actions can be a really helpful way to prepare your child for going online. Whether it’s how they can report cyberbullying they might witness or what you’d like them to do if they experience it directly, it means that your child will be more prepared. Remind them they can always check in with you if they’ve forgotten what actions you’d like them to take.

Explore online safety together

We’ve created several tools to help spark conversations and build confidence around cyberbullying issues. The Online Together Project’s interactive age-appropriate quizzes offer young people and parents the opportunity to test their understanding of different online topics. You can also explore Digital Matters, a selection of free online safety lessons.

Set controls and privacy settings

As a parent, you have some decisions to make about how you want your child to engage online and on social media, and what measures you want to put in place to help protect them.

Look at privacy settings together

Explore privacy settings together

We’ve got some advice on using privacy settings on the most popular social apps to protect your child from interacting with strangers. There are also a range of new apps and software that block, filter and monitor online behaviour, which can help you see who your child is interacting with.

Make sure profiles are private

Make sure profiles are private

Use their nickname and a profile picture of their pet or favourite band, rather than themselves, and encourage them to only be friends with people they know in real life. Avoid sharing personal information like school, age and place they live.

Review and set up safety

See step-by-step guides across video games, social media platforms and more to help protect children from cyberbullying.


Stay informed 

When discussing online safety, remember that one conversation is not enough. Agree regular check-ins with your child and remind them that they can approach you with questions.

While you probably use social networks yourself, you might want to know about new ones that your child is using or wants to use.

Use them yourself and set up your own account so you can experience what your child might see. There are also many child-friendly social networks they could use while they get ready for the likes of Snapchat and Instagram.

Online toolkit to manage their social activity
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