Cyber-bullying is at an all-time high whose credit goes to the widespread adoption of mobile phone and internet technologies. The digital generation is exposing to technology at an early and early age and spending more and more time on screens and gadgets. They spend around nine hours sticking to their smartphones and using social media where they may expose to cyber-threats. According to a 2012 survey, more than 60% of children report experiencing some form of cyber-bullying. Unfortunately, 90 percent of cyber-bullying victims do not inform their parents or trusted adults of the persecution. An unreported and continuous online-bullying can have the horrible consequences that can lead to depression or even suicide.
Protecting your kids from cyber-bullying is not a daunting task. You need to get involved, set limits and monitor your kids’ online lives. Here are the ways you can protect kids from cyber-bullying and make their cyber-lives secure.
Discussions are Crucial
Communication is significant for every relationship particularly when it is a parent-kid relation. Have frequent discussions with your kids about cyber-bullying. Let them know what kind of online behavior is bullying and how a bully can be dealt with. It will help you know if your kid is experiencing online harassment. Ask them to aware you if they receive mean, hurtful, offensive or threatening text messages, monitor instant messages, emails, posts, photos or videos online. At the same time, make sure your kids know that harassing or making fun of others online is not an acceptable behavior. Keeping kids from becoming cyber-bullies is as important as it is to protect them from bullying.
Keep Tabs on Kids’ Online Activities
You might be keeping notice of where your kids hang out and whom they hang out with in real life. Doing the same regarding their online activities can protect them from the potential dangers of the online world. Find out which social media app they use such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat; create your account on that network and follow/friend your kid.
Today’s kids know more than their parents when it comes to social media and digital technologies. They are more likely to adjust their media account’s privacy settings to keep you from seeing their posts if you are a friend or follower. Install parental control software on their mobile phone and computer devices to closely monitor their online behavior and prevent them from hiding their online stuff from you. For younger kids, insist having their passwords for the sites and apps they use. If they have mobile phones or tablets, consider installing an app that can remotely lock, unlock, back-up and retrieve the data in case of loss or theft. The lost device is the most common way the kids get cyber-bullied owing to the photos, contacts and other data stored on that device.
Set Digital Rules
Majority of the cyber-bullying victims is kids between the ages of 9 and 14. The kids having unsupervised and uncontrolled internet access are more likely to be the victim of online bullying. To protect your kid from being a bully or bullied, set rules and limits. For instance, you can restrict using social media after dining hours. Consider setting up messaging and calling filters so your kids can only communicate with family and close friends. Use a shared email account so you can monitor what is being transmitted and what is being received.
Learn the Appropriate Response
Educate and train your kids about the cyber-bullying. Explain to them that sometimes paying no attention to the bully can be the best thing you can do. The cyber-bullies like the attention they get from the victims and often they only aim to create pain and conflict. If you do not give the response the bully is expecting, you can give that stress back to the persecutor. Engaging with a bully or thinking of taking revenge only adds fuels to the fire. Block the bully from future communications and change your kid’s contact information if someone is pretending to be them. Get the threatening emails or messages saved so you can share it with your internet service provider or the authorities if needed.
Monitor your kids’ online behavior and train them to deal with the bullies and crooks in the online world so they can safely live in the digital world even without your supervision.