Cyberbullying has become a major problem among teens, a recent study found.
Online bullying is no new phenomenon. The difference now: there are no boundaries. Where once bullying was limited by school ground and neighborhood, now there are virtual borders that have no impact on whether someone will be cruel to another child over the Internet.
Simply put, cyberbullying is bullying that occurs through technologies like social networking and text messaging. And it’s the act of harming someone verbally or emotionally via email or instant message. So how can parents help their kids avoid cyberbullying? Here are some ways to address this issue:
But experts say parents can help protect their children from cyberbullies.
Cyberbullying doesn’t just happen at home. It can happen at school, on vacation or anywhere there’s mobile coverage. Because it’s so mobile, parents need to be aware that kids can be cyberbullied even when they’re away from the house.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 59% of teens have been cyberbullied at one point or another. This type of bullying is growing and can be just as damaging as traditional bullying. In fact, online bullies can be more vicious and even more anonymous than their counterparts in real life.
Cyberbullying has become a serious problem in todays society, and therefore all parents must be extra vigilant when it comes to their children’s use of the internet. This is especially true for parents who allow their children to go online unaccompanied, which is becoming ever more common.
It’s a new reality that all of us must deal with, but don’t let it scare you too much. There are lots of resources for parents out there, and this article will only serve as a brief overview. To keep your child safe online, you must encourage an open dialogue between you and your child.
Know who they’re talking to, what they’re saying and whether they’ve ever felt threatened by another user. By monitoring your child’s internet usage, you can begin to identify any possible threats while they are still minor.
If you discover that your child is being cyberbullied or harassed online, you will want to monitor them more frequently and even consider installing parental control software on their computers if necessary. To learn more about cyberbullying prevention visit staysafeonline.org
There are a variety of reasons kids get involved in cyberbullying. The most common is to be socially accepted by the group or individual doing the bullying, but some youngsters do it because they think their actions are entertaining or funny. Others lash out because they’re angry about something or are jealous of a victim’s success or popularity.
Watch for Warning Signs
While cyberbullying can be tough to spot, there are some warning signs that your child may be experiencing or perpetuating cyberbullying.
While it’s not always easy for parents to tell if their kids are being bullied online, there are some red flags that can clue you in — like behavior that’s out of character for your child. If your normally social teen suddenly becomes withdrawn and moody or seems depressed, this could indicate that something is troubling them.
In addition, because many kids don’t want their parents hovering over their shoulders when they’re on social media, they may start hiding their phone from view when you’re around or try to quickly close out of an app when you approach them — which could be an indication that something is up. You may also notice them shutting down or deleting their current social media account and opening a new
Whatever the reasons, cyberbullying can cause severe mental trauma for its victims, especially when it goes on for a long time. It can lead to depression, low self-esteem and even suicide if left unchecked.
There are several different types of cyberbullying. Some examples include:
Cyberbullying is a matter of serious concern for many parents. They are concerned that their kids may fall prey to bullies once they have been lured into cyberspace. Online bullying is rampant and it should be prevented at all levels: personal, social, and administrative levels. Parents play an essential role in preventing bullying as they are the first line of defense when it comes to keeping children safe.
- Harassment — sending offensive or hurtful messages
- Flaming — online fights using vulgar language
- Cyberstalking — repeatedly sending hurtful or threatening messages
- Denigration — posting or sending information intended to embarrass or humiliate someone
- Impersonation — pretending to be someone else to make that person look bad
- Outing/Trickery — sharing private information about another person, often in an attempt to embarrass him or her
- Exclusion — intentionally excluding someone from an online group.
The good news for parents is that you can take steps to ensure your children’s safety from cyberbullying. Here are 10 ways to keep your kids safe from cyberbullies:
Here are some ways you can keep your kids safe from cyberbullying:
Parents have always had the duty of keeping their children safe. This duty doesn’t change as children grow and head out on their own. Still, life changes as they get older. For example, they’re more likely to be hanging out online rather than real-life with friends. Likewise, they can be susceptible to cyberbullying which is something parents might not know how to handle.
- Know exactly what sites and apps your kids are using.
- Talk to them about online safety, especially with regard to private information and photos of themselves and their friends.
- Keep computers, tablets and video-game consoles in a public place where you can monitor activity more easily.
- Pay attention to your kids’ moods and behavior changes — they may indicate problems online or elsewhere in their lives.
- Remind them that you’re always available if they need help with a problem or to talk about an issue.
- Monitor your child’s social media accounts. If you don’t have access to them, ask for it. If your child won’t give you access, there are third-party monitoring apps you can use. Once you’re given access, monitor what your child posts and who comments on those posts.
- Discuss the risks of cyberbullying with your kids.
- Explain to them what constitutes this type of bullying and how it’s different from traditional bullying.
- Let them know why it’s important to let an adult know if they’ve been bullied or if they see someone being bullied online (or in real life).
- Report any instances of cyberbullying immediately to the appropriate parties: school administrators, law enforcement, and social media providers like Facebook or Twitter.
There are a number of ways parents can help their kids avoid the pitfalls of cyberbullying.
As a parent, you know it’s important to prepare your kids for the new things they will face in life. That includes teaching them about cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a serious problem in society today. Many children are not aware of this issue, and don’t know how to react when they’re bullied online. There are a number of ways parents can teach their kids to recognize and avoid this growing problem.
Effective Communication Tips for Parents
The first step to helping your child is to talk to them about social media and bullying. By setting the stage for open communication, your child will feel comfortable coming to you when problems arise. These are some tips that can help you communicate with your child:
Make it a Two-Way Conversation
Talking to your child doesn’t mean lecturing them, it’s important to make sure they have time to process and respond. Make sure they have time to think before answering and listen closely when they do speak. Give them time to bring up any concerns they may have and make sure they know you have time for them.
Open-ended questions are the key to learning what is going on in your child’s life. By asking questions, you show that you’re interested in what they have to say without being invasive. This helps build trust between you and your child and gives them a safe environment where they can come to you with their problems.
Set ground rules for online behavior.
Just as you would set ground rules for how your children behave offline, establish rules for online behavior. For example, you might consider rules like “do not give out personal information to anyone you don’t know”, “never post anything that could hurt someone else’s feelings”, and “if someone does something that makes you feel bad or uncomfortable, tell us immediately.”
Look for signs that your child may be a victim of cyberbullying.
If your child begins acting differently (e.g., stops using the computer or cell phone, withdraws from social activities), this could be a sign that they are being bullied online. Other common signs include decreased self-esteem and confidence; changes in mood, sleep patterns, appetite or energy levels; and missing school or other activities because of fear of bullying.
Don’t forget the basics of safety.
Cyberbullying can be scary, but there are steps kids can take right away — use strong passwords and don’t share them with anyone; don’t post personal information; block anyone who says something mean; and report bad behavior on social media sites and apps.
Set rules for phone usage and social media accounts.
Having clear rules in place can help keep your kids safe from cyberbullying and other forms of harm that can come from using technology unsupervised. Make sure your kids understand which sites they can use and what types of content are appropriate for them to share on these platforms. Explain how to use privacy settings on social media accounts, and be sure they know never to share personal information online without asking you first.
Monitor your child’s digital activity.
As a parent, you’re probably already doing your best to keep your children safe. You make sure they wear their bike helmets and seat belts, have regular checkups with their doctors, and avoid strangers. That’s all great — but it’s not enough. You also need to be sure they’re safe from cyberbullies online. The cyber world is a scary place for parents, but it’s the reality of today’s world.
If your kid has a computer or mobile device in his or her possession, make sure you have access to its content at all times. As the parent, you should have the password to everything your child uses. If your kids have social media accounts, follow them (even if they might not like it). It’s a good idea to monitor who they’re friends with and what they’re saying online — especially if you suspect cyberbullying is already taking place.
Learn about social media
Take time to learn about the features offered by your child’s social media accounts, as well as apps and sites they are likely to visit. Learn how to block users and disable features that you don’t want them using. Monitor any social media accounts your child may have and make sure they follow the same rules you set up for their school or work accounts. While kids cannot be completely safe from cyberbullying, you can help them avoid online predators and bullies. Keep the lines of communication open with your children – remain in regular contact with them to ensure that they know you are there to support them.
It’s a sad truth that cyberbullying is far too prevalent in modern society, but there are plenty of things we can do to protect our kids and keep them safe. By taking a proactive approach to this issue, we can help minimize the risk of bullying online and make sure our children have a happier and healthier experience with technology. This is an issue that deserves attention; sooner or later, all parents have to deal with it.
Basically, the bottom line is that we can’t stop it. Yes, cyberbullying is a problem, but there’s nothing that isn’t affected by bullying. Just because something’s digital doesn’t make it immune to issues like bullying. In fact, when you come at it from that direction, and really try to put yourself in the shoes of your kid, parent (or anyone else) and think about how you’d like to be treated if you were in the same position; you realize that this issue never has been about technology. It does need to be better publicized and people do need to be aware of cyberbullying as an issue; but any other way a person can be bullied is also just as real. And it doesn’t make it less impactful.
Aside from social media, cellphone use is another common avenue cyberbullying takes. Children may be unaware of the dangers of sending a message to the wrong recipient, or that their messages are being read by strangers while they sleep.
Putting the cellphone on silent at bedtime or during school hours can help prevent cyberbullying, and caregivers should advise their children against allowing anyone but close friends to follow them on social media sites.
Parents and children alike would be well-served to take time learning how to recognize the signs of cyberbullying, and how to best respond by either confronting the bully or seeking professional help for their child.
Understanding what cyberbullying is will help parents address the problem when it arises, and knowing how to respond is essential for putting a stop to these actions before they escalate out of hand. And never underestimate how a child feels about shame directed at him or her via social media; just because there’s no face-to-face confrontation doesn’t mean that the child who is being bullied doesn’t feel every bit of it.
Cyberbullying is something much more than just mean gossip between friends–it is true abuse and harassment that leaves lasting effects. By taking these precautions and educating yourself about what cyberbullying looks like, you can be sure your child is safe from this epidemic of Internet violence.
Parvinder Singh is a seasoned IT developer and network engineer with over 5 years of experience. He is also a skilled tech columnist, offering insights on the latest trends and developments in the tech industry.