With children spending more time online, the rates of cyber bullying continue to increase; in fact, 60% of children have experienced various forms of cyber bullying, and one out of three teens have faced cyber threats. Unfortunately, 90% of these cyber bullying victims have not informed their parents or other trusted adults about the abuse. Research also shows that cyber bullying can lead to depression or worse, suicide. This is because parents are often the last people who learn about this problem. Children fear getting into more trouble if they talk about this.
It is a difficult task to protect your child from cyber bullying if you do not understand this problem. That is why you must have knowledge regarding cyber bullying. Your children will then be comfortable in approaching you first if faced with this issue. As a concerned parent, you must communicate; get involved, set rules. Parents, children, and school administrations can take several steps to prevent cyber bullying and here’s how you can do it:
Involve Your Children’s School to eliminate Cyber Bullying
Ask them to include cyber bullying in their discussions and school regulations. If more parents speak up about cyber bullying, more schools will provide information and knowledge about this issue.
A lot of schools teach children about bullies in real life but do not focus on cyber bullying. Although this is now slowly changing as patents speak up. Inform the authorities in your children’s school that you are concerned about this and want to prevent it from happening.
Teach Proper Responses
As a parent, you must learn how to respond to cyber bullying and teach children how to do so as well. Remind them to save all bullying messages and comments and to share these with you, your internet provider, as well as the authorities if needed.
When it comes to this problem, the first rule of thumb is to avoid responding to the bully since engaging with a bully only makes things worse. In case your children experience cyber bullying, tell them to block the bully from future communication and change their contact information, especially if the bully is pretending to be them.
Pay More Attention to Your Children
Responding to your children appropriately when you see them dealing with cyber bullying is most important. Do not ignore or under react by telling them to shrug it off. Also, don’t tease them by saying “kids will be kids”. Bullying has real and long-lasting emotional and psychological effects, so help them face this problem head on. Also, do not threaten to take your children’s gadgets away if they approach you with a problem since this will force them to be more secretive and distant.
Creating House Rules with your Children
Create rules at home such as time limits for going online then discuss the importance of this. Ask your children to also establish some rules so they will be more encouraged to follow them. When setting time limits, be sure that your children will have other activities they enjoy so they will refrain from getting back to their devices; encourage your children to play with amazing toys outdoors.
Get Involved With your Child Wherever they Might Be
If you pay attention to the places your children go to after school and the people they hang out with that will help. Also extend your supervision to their online activities as well. So to effectively monitor them, you can install parental control programs on the devices that your children use. Also, place the computer in a common area at home such as your living room and do not allow them to have one in their bedroom.
Find out which social media sites they use and learn how to utilize these so you can create accounts there and follow theirs. This will help you keep track of your children’s activities while also seeing who they interact with. However, you must keep in mind that tech-savvy children might know how to change their privacy settings to hide their posts from you even if you are following their accounts.
To have a healthy relationship with your children, you must also have an open, honest communication with them. It is essential. Make sure that you set aside some time to talk to them about cyber bullying. Let them know that you’re aware of this and that you don’t want them to experience this. If they are, show them that you are there to help them stop this. More importantly, make them feel that they can approach you anytime and that you will not judge them even if there are potentially embarrassing elements such as pictures and foul language involved.
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