As much as you love your teenager, you can’t always be there for them as frustrating as that may be.
With that being the case, what do you do when your daughter or son are the victims of harassment? More to the point, what steps can you take when they are getting harassing text messages?
First, the last thing you want to do is panic.
Do your best to keep a clear head. If your teen sees you losing it over this, it could impact how they also react.
Second, do your best to gather as much evidence as possible.
As an example, did your teen save the harassing text message or messages? If so, be sure to archive them for authorities to see if it comes to that. While your first thought may be reaching out to the alleged party, they may not be cooperative.
At the end of the day, you may have to get law enforcement and legal counsel involved.
Keeping Your Teenager Safe
Stop for a moment and think back to when you were a teenager.
Did you do some stuff in hindsight that was rather stupid? Chances are you will answer yes to that question.
With that in mind, think about what kind of message or messages your teen got on their mobile device.
Was it something silly that does not constitute a true threat?
No, there is never a good reason for teens to poke fun at one another when it goes beyond the normal stuff teenagers do. You have to come to a conclusion of whether a real threat is present or something said was so bad it could harm your teen.
As you get to the bottom of the matter, talk to your teen about the text or texts and what they perceive the issue to be.
Among the questions to look at:
- How long has the harassment been going on? If it has been for a while now, was your teen afraid to come to you, someone at school, or another relative to discuss it?
- Is the alleged perpetrator of the text or texts harassing others too? Is there a pattern here of textual harassment? In the event there is, why has no one stepped in up to this point to end it?
- Will getting the police involved complicate matters? Although the natural thing to do when texts get out of hand is to bring in police, will that in fact make matters worse? In some cases, discussing the matter with the alleged perpetrator may end the matter. He or she may come to the conclusion that what they were reportedly doing is not right.
Making Your Teenager Aware of Their Surroundings
With the popularity of texting and social media, your teen is in a different world than you were. As such, he or she needs to be aware of their surroundings.
Given that fact, remind your son or daughter to only share their number with those they feel they can trust. If a friend turns on them, they should do all they can to block them from having any further contact with them.
Last, remind your teen never to leave their cell phones unattended. Unless they have a password code, someone can with ease open up the phone and see all kinds of personal details. Inprotecting what is on their laptop, they should do likewise for the mobile device.
If someone is harassing your teen, will you do all you can to keep your loved one safe and happy?