Schools are back into full swing and unfortunately so are the Cyber Bullies. Unlike the “Schoolyard Bullies” you may be used to, the Cyber Bully has access to harass and torment 24x7x365. There is no “safe zone” for a child from a Cyber Bully. Cyber Bullying cases continue to rise as more children have access to technology. In recent studies from the Cyber Bullying Research Center and i-Safe, the following statistics were reported:
- Nearly 50% of all children have been bullied online.
- Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly making it the most common medium of Cyber Bullying.
- 90% of victims will not inform a parent or trusted adult about the abuse.
Given those statistics, what can parents do to protect your child from becoming the target of a Cyber Bully?
- Talk to your Child – Communication with your child is critical to many aspects of their life, but especially when it comes to Cyber Bullying. Open those lines of communication and learn more about what your child is doing on the internet and their cell phone, who they are talking to and texting, and if anything odd or unusual has occurred.
- Use Google – Google your child’s name on a regular basis and see what is out there about them.
- Remind your child about safe Internet use – Remind your child about the do’s and don’ts on the Internet, including:
- Don’t share your passwords
- Always logout of accounts
- Think before you post
- Set your privacy settings on Social Media
- Know who you are talking to
- Live by and remind your child of the “Golden Rule” – Treat others as you would like to be treated. This can be trying at times, but in the end it is the right thing to do. Encourage this behavior in your child and lead them by example.
By talking with you child about Cyber Bullying before it happens, they will be more aware of it and may even be able to stop it from happening to them or to others. There are always going to be bullies out there regardless of age, medium or location. Awareness of the problem and how to limit its effects on you and your child is the first step to reducing the impact.
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