6/7/12

How to Protect Your Children From Cyberbullies

'Children using the computer.' photo (c) 2008, San Jose Library - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Bullying is a growing epidemic in today’s world and has now surfaced through the internet as well. This has become so prevalent that it is now better known as cyberbullying. More than 50 percent of kids have revealed that they have been bullied through some sort of virtual platform.  Believe it or not, almost all the children that experienced cyberbullying never told their parents. Because kids are connected today in so many different ways to the internet, it’s important that we keep them safe. What do you do about this? Talk to your kids. Be involved with your kids. Set (internet) limits with your kids. Below are some ways you can protect your kids from cyberbullying that have worked for my family.

Talks
Just like any relationship, it’s good to have open and honest communication with your children. Talk to them about the seriousness of cyberbullying. Tell them you know what it is and want them to tell you if it happens to them. Tell them that it can be stopped, and that you will never judge them, no matter what has taken place, to help them get this resolved.

Furthermore, you must explicitly tell your kids that harassing others is not right and explain to them what cyberbullying is. Cyberbullying can be threats or remarks sent through the internet by ANY source (facebook, twitter, message boards, email, etc), usually for other people to see. Anything they say that is hurtful to others can be considered cyberbullying. Naturally, your child could very well be a bully and not even know it. Protect your children from cyberbullying and protect them from doing it themselves. Both are your responsibility.

Involvement

Pay attention to and care about what your kids are doing after school. Know where they go and the kids they hang out with. Supervise their social network pages on the internet and follow your children on those pages. They may not like this, but as a parent, you have a right to monitor them online. If your children are very young, know their passwords and check their activity daily, to be sure nothing is going on that you are not aware of.

Limits
Limit time and access to the internet. Make sure your children know that the internet is not an unlimited resource in your house. Time spent online should be used wisely.

Responses
If your child is a victim of cyberbullying, know how to respond. Specifically, not responding at all is the action that needs to be taken first. Replying to a bully will just fuel their fire. Block the bully from their websites and notify your school of what’s happening. Never be afraid to speak up! You may even have to contact the police, and that may not be a bad thing.

Mikaela Jergens writes about safety and saving money.

1 comment:

Robin Whitcore said...

As soon as they can use the computer is a good time to talk to them about it too! A lot of sites have games where kids as young as four are interacting with others. Teaching them that it's an onscreen game where there is an actual child controlling the other characters is so important to point out to them. They need to understand that it's not the same as a computer or video game where they are interacting only with a machine who doesn't have feelings.