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Stand Up To Bullying Day: Expert Tips For Parents on How to Navigate Children’s Online Bullying 

 Child development expert breaks down tips for parents on online bullying as International Stand Up to Bullying Day commences 

21st February 2022: This week, schools up and down the country will participate in Stand Up to Bullying Day (25th February). Which aims to raise awareness of bullying in children and young people and highlight ways of preventing and responding to it. The purpose of the awareness day seeks to stand against all forms of bullying, whether in school, the workplace or online. Cyberbullying is increasingly becoming the most common form of bullying among children. A report found nearly one in five (19%) children aged 10-15 in the UK experience cyberbullying, equating to approximately 764,000 children.

This is even more worrying as cyberbullying typically affects a child’s day to day interactions at their school as well as at home. To help parents navigate online bullying,

Envirofone has collaborated with Dr Kalanit Ben-Ari, a child development expert, psychologist, family therapist, and founder of an online parenting community empowered by experts The Village, to share tips on how to spot if your child is being bullied online and how to approach the situation.

How online bullying can affect a child  

Short term effects

Online trolling can harm a child's sense of safety, joy, and trust in others. It can cause them to withdraw from social interactions, anxiety and be closed off in their bedroom, affecting their self-esteem, mental health, and in some cases, their body confidence. If the child has a strong connection with their family, they can reach out to an adult for appropriate support and guidance. Sleeplessness is also a common short-term effect of online bullying.

Long term effects

Unfortunately, the effect can even be more devastating when children don’t have a strong connection with their families. The child or teenager has no educational or emotional support systems to cope with the situation. This can worsen the long-term consequences of being bullied, such as chronic depression, substance abuse, self-half, and suicidal thoughts/attempts.

How to spot the signs your child is being bullied online  

Regression in your child's behaviour 

Changes could include but are not limited to anxiety, withdrawal from friends and family, closing themselves off in their bedroom, feeling upset and expressing sadness without an apparent reason as to why.

They stop taking part in activities.  

Many online and offline bullying victims experience that they no longer participate in activities they used to enjoy. This usually ties in with victims of bullying no longer seeing people they used to.  Look out for an obsession with being online, checking messages all the time, feeling stressed and anxious if they cannot do so constantly.


Your child may appear to be isolating themselves within the home, expressing anger, or showing an unexpected decline in their schoolwork. The signs can vary in intensity and quantity from one child to the next, but if there is very little joy in their life, or they are trying to avoid school or their usual social life, this can be a clear indicator of an issue such as online trolling.

How to approach your child if you think they are a victim of online trolling

Initiate a safe conversation

Initiate a conversation while you are busy doing another activity, such as walking or driving, so the child or teenager doesn't need to maintain eye contact. Safe conversations mean speaking without any judgement or strong emotions as this can lead them to close up even more.  The message that you want to portray is that your child will not regret sharing their struggle with you. Parents should avoid blaming or shaming, allowing space for the teen or child to talk about what is going on for them and explore together what can be done to resolve the situation.

Get the school involved 

Reporting bullying incidents to the child’s school is essential for the bullying to be taken seriously.  There is also a need, between parents and schools, to educate children about online safety.

Show them privacy settings

It is important to educate them about privacy settings on social media, and about not engaging with people they do not know directly and in person.

Ways to monitor your children’s online Activity 

From restricting screen time, blocking apps at certain areas and filtering what content kids can see, security apps permit parents to customize the apps to their families. There are many apps you can choose from, some free and some at a subscription cost:

1.      Netnanny: Netnanny is one of the longest-running monitoring providers and is the #1-Rated Internet Filter.

2.      KasperSky: Multinational cyber-security and anti-virus provider.

3.      Circle Home Plus: Circle Home Plus can monitor devices at the router level on your home network or via an app on your child's mobile devices.

4.      Questodio: Family Parental Control App makes parenting easier with daily screen time monitoring, app monitoring, including Facebook and YouTube, app blocking, family locator, family mode, porn blocker and more.

5.      Bark: Bark monitors texts, email, YouTube, and 30+ apps and social media platforms for signs of issues like cyber-bullying, sexual content, online predators, depression, suicidal ideation, threats of violence.

6.      Boomerang: Boomerang is a parental control app for Android and iOS that helps parents track their children's web, app, and mobile activity. It's mobile-only.

7.      Family Time: Lets you manage screen time and block apps on their phones with just a tap. Kids can reach out to you instantly if they ever get into trouble with instant panic alerts.

8.      Google Family Link: You can also monitor and limit screen time, including checking out how much time your child spends on their favourite apps, thanks to weekly or monthly activity reports.

Denise Timmis, brand manager at Envirofone said: “The way children communicate is increasingly more in the online world, their online presence has increased due to factors such as school work and education merging with the online world from the pandemic, adding to their screen times and increasing the chances of cyberbullying instances. Parents need to communicate effectively with their children about bullying. It’s also important to explore your options in terms of the types of parental controls that you would be comfortable using that will help take more control over cyberbullying risks.”