Cyber bullying has become a major issue among kids and adults in recent years. The Internet has made it easier for people to threaten or bully people in an anonymous manner. Furthermore, it has enabled perpetrators to do it on a massive level. A cyber bully can ruin someone’s reputation at the click of a button. The actions of cyber bullies can leave devastating consequences in their wake. It can happen to anyone, but kids are the primary target of cyber bullying. The following is a few tips that parents can use to prevent cyber bullying of their children.
The first thing to do is to lay down ground rules for how the Internet and Internet-connected devices will be used by children. The children need to understand there are consequences for their actions online. They need to be shown that these consequences can go past the repercussions of breaking parental rules. Their actions can ruin their reputations as well as others.
This is true for the cyber bully and for the victim. If a parent suspects that their child is being a cyber-bully they need to immediately step in and put a stop to it. On the other hand, a parent also needs to intervene if they believe their child is doing things that will make them susceptible to cyber bullying. This can include things like posting revealing text and images online. This can serve as ammunition for a cyber-bully later.
Secondly, parents should let children know that they will be monitoring their online activities. That does not mean they will be constantly invading their privacy. However, it is important for children to understand that their parents will be checking in on them from time to time. Sometimes, just the knowledge it could happen is enough to prevent errors in judgment. And, there is a good chance the parent will never have to actually invade the child’s privacy. The warning along can act as a deterrent.
Parents should be educated about what their children do online and about the devices they use. They should take time to learn about the sites they visit. This is particularly true for the social media sites they frequent. But, it is also important to understand how texting and other forms of communication fit into their child’s life. And, with all the communication apps available on smartphones it is a good idea to understand how they are used. Many kids believe they can hide cyber bullying activities from their parents with all the technology they use. So, it is important for parents to present to their children that they are technologically savvy.
It is a good practice to ask to follow children online in their social media circles. Many teenagers will have a hard time going along with this rule, but the parent should just explain that it is a requirement for allowing them to be on the site. By being a friend or follower, a parent can see if their child is bullying or being a victim of bullying.
Kids have a tendency to share their passwords and personal secrets with friends. Parents should explain that passwords and sensitive information should not be shared online or with their friends. If something should ever go wrong between the friends, the secretive information could be used in a negative manner. A vindictive person could use login information to login and impersonate the victim and cause a great deal of damage to their reputation.
If a parent ever notices evidence of cyber bullying, they should act swiftly. This is true if their child is the victim or the culprit. It is one thing to recognize it is happening, but it is more important to step in and intervene for a parent. There have been many sad stories where the issue was allowed to get out of hand only to result in tragic consequences. Hopefully, the above ideas can help parents and their children avoid the growing issue of cyber bullying.