Have you ever walked into your child’s room and they quickly snap their laptop close? Chances are that they are being cyberbullied. According to statistics released by the Children’s eSafety Commission, 19% of kids aged between 14 and 17 were being bullied or harassed on online platforms. This annual figure is alarming considering the fact that cyber bullying isn’t treated with the seriousness it deserves. Cyber bullying can be described as any statement, act or term made online that violates one’s personal safety both physically or mentally.
It’s been reported that most children don’t tell their parents when they are being bullied. In this era of electronic gadgets and the World Wide Web, your child can be bullied right in their bedroom. Over 85% of young children have access to internet and it’s important as a parent to keep tabs of what content they are viewing while online.
Here are some ways on how parents can prevent cyberbullying:
1. Know what to look out for
It’s extremely important as a parent to know the signs your child is being cyberbullied. As parents we may have hectic schedule and often fail to monitor the sites which our kids log into when online. The moment you notice an embarrassing email, text message or picture that is inappropriate, you need to take notice.
Some of the tell-tale signs your child may manifest include unwillingness to volunteer information about their online activities, acting nervous when receiving a text or a call or even refusal to engage in social activities with their friends.
2. Identify the cause of bullying
Most times, cyber bullying is done by people known to your kids. It may be classmates, gym partners, a relative or even someone in the neighbourhood. It’s therefore important to know who your child is taking to when online. In cases where you can positively identify the bully, take appropriate action. Most schools have a policy against cyberbullying and stern measures can be taken in case the bully is a student or staff of your kid’s school.
3. Caution your Child
Another way on how you can prevent cyberbullying is cautioning your child from engaging the bully. There’s no denying that online bullies get encouraged when they are engaged especially because they are idle and have the luxury of hiding behind a screen. The more your kid engages the bully through responding to their threats or inappropriate comments, the more malicious they get. If possible, you can work together with your kid to shut down or change their social accounts.
4. Keep Evidence
Whenever you come across texts, emails or any online content that may seem like cyber bullying, make sure that you don’t delete it. You can send it to your email, print it or even screenshot the content. Doing so will act as evidence when you need to prove that your child was actually cyberbullied.
5. Be Approachable to your kids
Other ways we can prevent cyberbullying is creating a relationship filled with trust between us and our kids. As a parent, your child needs to have the confidence that they can approach you when they are being threatened.
More to that, when they confide in you about being bullied online, you should be careful not to shout at them and blame them for the bullying. Comfort them and assure them that you will work together to end the bullying.
6. Block the Bully
The moment you learn of the online bullying, you need to block the person’s account. Most of these social media platforms have provisions for privacy and allow you to block any unwanted person from contact you. It’s also important as a parent to familiarize yourself with how social media accounts work. That way you can be proactive in shielding your child.
7. Get Help
In some instances, the cyberbullying may be so advanced that you have to seek help from law enforcers, school principals and other support bodies. Get to familiarize yourself with cyberbullying helplines because they will prove handy when your kid is going through such an ordeal.
When enrolling your child to a particular school, find out whether they have any measures to tackle cyberbullying. Rather than keeping quiet, you need to let the head teacher know that your kid is being bullied and doing so may also give other parents courage to speak out and seek help as well.
All in all, the social network is with us and as much as it comes with numerous benefits, it also poses a challenge to us as parents. Let’s remain vigilant and keep our children safe from cyber bullies.
Author Bio: Riya is an inspired writer, passionate about traveling, lifestyle and encouraging startups. As a freelancer, she understands the importance of productivity at work. Connect with Riya on twitter, @sanderriya.