With the ability to say and do things from the safety of distance and anonymity of the Internet, cyber bullying is becoming more widespread than ever before. Even children that normally aren’t prone bullying someone are getting in on this growing trend and are not only hurting others, but also opening themselves up to the same type of attack.
To prevent your child from being bullied or bullying other children, “She Knows Parenting”‘s Michelle Maffei has given us four simple tips to follow:
1. Monitor your child’s digital activities: Seeing as cyber bullying takes place in the digital realm, it is important to be aware of how your child interacts with others on the web and via cell phone or text messaging. However, with such technology, it is easy for a child to keep their online activities private from their parents.
“Parents know they have a huge blind spot when it comes to what teens are doing on their phones and PCs,” says BrickHouse CEO, Todd Morris.
Some tips to make it harder for kids to hide their online activities from parents are to keep the computer in a public space such as the living room, so that if the child is engaged in cyber bullying or is being bullied, it will be much easier for parents to notice. With portable digital devices like laptops, tablets, or smartphones, this monitoring might not be possible. In this case there are such devices that can be installed on a cellphone or computer that will allow parents to keep tabs on their child’s digital activities wherever they might be.
2. Check up on their social networking profiles: With the majority of today’s children being active on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, getting an inside look at your child’s digital life might be as simple as visiting their personal pages a couple of times a week. Using this approach, parents can quickly tell how their child interacts with others, and whether they are being bullied or are bullying other children.
3. Monitor their e-mail accounts: Another approach recommended by Maffei is to periodically check up on your child’s e-mail account to make sure everything is going well and that they are not getting involved with any dangerous or inappropriate online activities. The options that you have with your child is to be upfront and require your child to share their passwords with you, or to look into programs that secretly record your child’s computer activities.
4. Take other parent’s bullying concerns seriously: Lastly, whenever another child’s parent contacts you about bullying, whether your child is the victim or the aggressor, take the time to do some investigating. Even if you think your child isn’t the type to be involved in such activities, it is a good idea to look into the matter and talk to your child to see if there are any problems that they might have.
If you do find that your child is involved with cyber bullying, it is important to sit them down and have a good talk. Find out why the situation is happening, how to address it, and what your child can do to either resolve the problem or find an alternative way to express themselves.