The widespread adoption of mobile phones and social media has turned cyberbullying into the most common online threat. According to recent statistics, almost 43 percent of children have experienced bullying as a victim. The online harassment has serious and horrible consequences on the victim. The cyberbullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to commit suicide. In September 2013 in Florida, a 12-year old girl took her life after being cyberbullied by two girls of her age.
The online harassers target the victim with messages, emails, social media posts, comments and phone calls. Social media is the main facilitator of cyberbullying as it provides safe haven to persecutors allowing them to hide their identities. The online harassment is not only dangerous for the bullied but also for bully who may have to face serious penalties.
Unfortunately, many kids do not inform their parents about their involvement in online bullying. Some do this unconsciously or for sake of fun without knowing the consequences. Being a parent, it is your responsibility to remain informed of your kids’ online activities, so you could protect and prevent them from the online dangers. This article provides guide on how parents can prevent their kids from being a bully, a bystander or victim of bullying.
1. Supervise Electronic Devices
The bullies use electronic devices such as cellphones and computer to access and victimize the target. Parents should supervise the use of electronic and digital devices to protect their children from the menaces of these technologies. You must also monitor the family computer to keep tabs on the online and offline activities of your kids. The supervision of electronic means is not crucial to prevent cyberbullying but also plays important role in making the online lives of children secure.
2. Get Passwords
Do you know the pin code of your kid’s smartphone? Do your kids feel comfortable sharing their passwords with you? This is important to know passwords of electronic devices used by your children to ensure that everything is alright. If your kids do not want you to know their passwords or to access their devices, it is a sign that there is something they want to hide. You can take help from keylogger app to secretly access passwords, pin codes and credentials of your kids’ online accounts.
Following your kid’s social media account is important to keep an eye on his/her online activities. It lets you know what your kid is posting and whether or not it contains hurtful or offending text. With the use of social media monitoring app, you can closely watch out every single activity of your kid on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat and popular social networking platforms.
4. Watch for Cyberbullying Signs
Have you noticed any sudden change in your kid’s behavior? Does he/she remain fearful, annoyed, isolated or uninterested in going school or being with fellow? These are the red-flags that your kid is being bullied. Talk to him/her so he/she could give explanation for a sudden behavioral change.
5. Strengthen Parent-Child Bonding
If your kid is involved in cyberbullying, he would never let you know until he shares a strong bonding with you. Having a strong relationship with your children makes it easier to protect your kids from wrongdoings. When they would trust on you, they would come to you for all their problems. Let them know that they can trust you and share information without fear of a bad response.
6. Keep Communication Lines Open
Having frequent conversations with your kids about the online dangers such as bullying and child predation can help in protecting kids from these endangerments. Having non-threatening and careful talk with your kids can encourage them to share their involvement in cyberbullying.
7. Listen with a Cool Mind
If your child informs you about his involvement in bullying, listen to him with a cool mind. Provide support to get the matter resolved. Make it clear to him that you will keep his confidence on condition that no one’s security, privacy or health is in danger.
8. Educate about Cyberbullying
Many kids get involved in cyberbullying without knowing its consequences or impacts on the victim. Some do this for sake of fun without thinking that it can be hurtful for the victim and he can have to face serious consequences as a result. Educate your kids about online bullying so they could identify what kind of behavior is considered harassment.
9. How to Respond to the Cyber Bully
Help your kids learn how they can combat bullying. Let them know how they should respond to the bully. It is not necessary to answer threatening messages or humiliating comments. Sometimes, your angry response can only add fuel to the fire. However, do not delete the bullying messages. Save them so they could be used as evidence against the harasser.
10. Set Rules
Rules can play important role in making your kid’s life secure. Compile a list of rules for the use of social media, internet, mobile phones and computers. Do not allow your kids to go online late night because it is the time when bullies and predators look for the hunt. Also, set time limits for the use of digital devices so your kid has less chances of exposing to the endangerments of the online world.
Hope this article would be helpful in learning how to prevent cyberbullying. Follow all these guidelines and make the online lives of your children secure.