Cyber bullying is a form of bullying that takes place electronically. It can take place via text messages, forums, on the internet and social media websites. With the increase in technology in today’s society, cyber bullying is becoming a more serious issue that often goes unnoticed by parents. Different from normal bullying, cyber bullying can take place anywhere at any time. As a parent, there are different steps you can take to ensure your child is not being impacted by cyber bullying.
First of all, the most important way to determine if your child is being cyber bullied is to observe any sudden changes in his/her attitude. For example, if your child is normally happy but notice a sudden change in demeanor after getting of the computer, this may be an indication that cyber bullying is taking place. Sudden mood changes like this are a red flag and should be looked into.
Since many cyber bullying cases take place online and over social media pages like Facebook and Twitter, it is important for parents to be aware of what their children are doing online. If your child has a social media page or a screen name that he/she uses regularly, it might be helpful to have a copy of their log-in information so you can make sure they are using the site responsibly. Similarly, you should keep an eye on what web pages your child views to have a sense of how they spend their time online. If you’re not comfortable logging into your child’s account(s) directly, download a freeware application like a keystroke logger will give you a rundown of the types of conversations they’re having online; reviewing their browsing history can be very useful as well.
Laying out specific rules for internet use in your household is important and can prevent a number of problems in the first place. If your child is using a social media pages, speak to him/her about the importance of being responsible about what they write. Explain that certain posts can be read and interpreted in different ways and that he/she should always think twice before positing comments or status updates to make sure it does not offend anyone. In addition to this, remind children to only accept/friend people who they know personally.
Bullying can be prevented if you take action right away. If your child is experiencing cyber bullying, save the evidence! It is important to make sure that even the smallest case of cyber bullying is recorded in case it becomes a continuous issue. By saving those nasty emails or messages, you will be able to form a strong case against the bully and bring it to the attention of school administration, the bullying child’s parents, or even police, if necessary.
If you have clear and irrefutable evidence of cyber bulling, it’s imperative that you speak with your child directly and make sure they aren’t fighting back. It’s especially for children and teens to get into cyber fights and threaten others because we often feel more confident when we are behind a computer or cell phone screen—there’s a disconnect from what happens online and the real world. Retaliating against a bully will not solve the problem. Instead, retaliation often leads to bigger issues and can result in both parties getting in trouble, especially with the growing number of schools that are taking actions against this type of online behavior.
Cyber bullying is becoming a big issue in today’s society. Technology isn’t going to disappear which means we need to take action and make sure our children are safe online. If you notice any changes in your child after they have been using technology, talk to them. Ask your child what is on his/her mind and hint around about possibly being bullied without being too direct. Tell your child that you are there to support them and that if something is going on you need to know about it so it can get taken care of.
This post was written by Kyle Sanders–a proud parent, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Complete Web Resources, a Denver-based digital marketing refinery for small businesses looking to improve their search placements online.