Cyberbullying seems to be shamefully rampant in society today. Cyberbullying is when someone sends threatening, mean, or embarrassing messages to or about another person through the use of technology. Cyberbullying happens over the internet via social media or online games or through texts and emails, and according to Statistic Brain, 52% of students have reportedly been cyberbullied.
It’s a very real concern as a parent to have to worry about if your child is being subjected to this kind of mistreatment, and very often you might have to do some digital digging to find out the extent. So what you can do to prevent cyberbullying from happening to your child in the first place?
Encourage Your Child’s Self Esteem
No matter what age your child is, it is never too late to help encourage their self esteem, sense of worth, and confidence. You can’t do this too much! You want to encourage your child to do things that they enjoy, and inspire them to be proud of his or her self.
The bottom line here is that children that have more confidence and self esteem tend to not really be picked on. If they do end up at the end of this, they are much better at letting it go or not letting it bother them than kids with poor self esteem. So, always work to build your child’s self esteem. It will pay off in more ways than one!
Don’t Be Afraid To Monitor Your Child’s Activity
Don’t you dare be afraid to monitor your child’s activity on the internet or their phone. Should you find yourself needing help with that, here are plenty of apps to help you that we have covered in the past.
Some simple ways to make that happen without apps: keep the family computer in a space that is highly visible and used frequently by the rest of the family so that everyone can see what they are doing at all times, and don’t let them have a computer or laptop in their room where you can’t monitor what they do.
Don’t let your child keep his or her cell phone password protected so that if you need to, you can go in and see what they are up to at all times. Privacy is a privilege, not a right, and you as a parent are obligated to keep your child safe, and be apprised of what they are up to. Don’t feel badly about that.
Put A Limit On Your Child’s Internet Time
Growing up, my children had a time sheet where they had to clock in and out for the time they spent on the internet, and they only got 40 minutes a day. Oh yes, they clocked in and out just like employees do. I built a chart and they had to write down the time they started and the time they ended after their 40 minutes were up. No exceptions.
Why else is this beneficial? It encourages your child to be part of the family. It encourages your child to play, go outside, spent time interacting face to face with their friends. All of those things are put at risk when your child spends too much time on the internet, along with increasing their chance of being cyberbullied. If they don’t spend a lot of time on the internet or social media, they can’t possibly have a problem with other kids who spend all their time there!
Make Sure Your Child Knows They Can Trust & Confide In You
As parents, our job is to be our child’s friend, but still be their parent too. I know that’s a hard thing to balance, but it can be done. The more your child knows they can trust and confide in you, the more you’re going to know about their life and the more you are going to be able to do about problems as they arise. Knowledge is power. Don’t be afraid to frequently tell your child that they can tell you anything, bad or good, and you will hear them out without overreacting.
Don’t Be In The Dark About Your Child’s Life At School
Children spend the majority of their time at school, so you cannot be in the dark about what goes on there for them. Chances are good if your child is being bullied at school, they could very well be bullied online as well. Get to know your children’s teachers. Get to know the administration of their school- principals, etc. Get to know their guidance counselors.
Don’t be afraid to ask for any of their help if you suspect there is an issue. Part of their jobs entail helping to resolve conflicts and problems, so they’re one of your biggest resources, especially since you physically cannot be there at school with your child.
Teach Your Child To Protect Their Personal Information
It’s highly important in this day and age to teach your child to never give their personal information out over the internet, for obvious reasons. It puts them at too much risk, to say nothing of how easy it makes them as a cyberbullying target. Phone numbers, posts, texts, can always be shared without your child’s permission. Let them know if they would like to give a friend their cell phone number or email, they should always do so in person.
Also make sure you teach your child to never share their passwords to any of their social media accounts with any of their friends, as this can put them at risk as well.
Know Your Child’s Friends
Know them. Know them all. Make sure you are aware of who your child is friends with, obviously because you don’t want them running in bad circles or falling in with the wrong crowd. Why else is it important for you to know who your child is friends with?
So you can monitor who they are friends with on social networks too. Do they really know these people? Are they friends with them in real life? You should know!
Teach Your Child How To Deal With Cyberbullying
Make sure you sit down with your child and have a conversation with them about how to deal with cyberbullying, whether they’re the victim or they see this happening to another child. It’s important to educate your child on the signs of cyberbullying so that they can better handle it if they do find themselves encountering it.
Ensure that your child knows to report cyberbullying to you, or a teacher, or another adult right away. Depending on where they are or when something like this could happen you might not always be there to be the first person they could tell. Also be sure to teach your child where the block button is on various social media platforms so they can eliminate other children (or even adults) from harassing them.