9 Ways To Keep Your Children Safe From Cyberbullying

These efforts can help raise awareness and involve kids in a proactive, positive way in addressing social media hazards – without casting an unwelcome focus on your child's personal experiences.”
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10 Ways To Keep Your Children Safe From Cyberbullying (Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels)

In this day and age, raising children presents more challenges than benefits. With the introduction and widespread use of the internet, which allows anyone, including children, to access the internet and social media, parents face a new challenge.

Bullying is unfortunately one of the issues that arise as a result of technology. Cyberbullying is when a person is bullied through the use of electronic communication, such as sending intimidating or threatening messages.

Some children were once only bullied at school, but with the rise of connected devices and the ever-expanding Internet of Things, cyberbullying has become a problem.

The amount of time kids and teens spend online exacerbates the problem. According to studies, seven out of ten young people experience cyberbullying before they turn 18, with harsh comments being the most common form of harassment.

In a bid to stay current on social media sites, young children and teens are now sharing more personal information on their pages, exposing them to cyberbullying.

In young children and teenagers, cyberbullying has been connected to a variety of mental health issues, including depression, drug use, and even suicide.

Protecting your children from cyberbullying can be a difficult chore for parents, especially if you don't understand how cyberbullying works or the dangers it can cause.

Unfortunately, because their children are afraid of getting into additional trouble, parents are generally the last to learn about difficulties.

While completely removing young children from social media may appear to be the simplest and most effective way for parents to protect them from cyberbullying, it does not help them grow into resilient individuals capable of dealing with the barrage of abuse that the world throws at them both online and offline.

As a result, it's critical for parents to be involved in their children's digital lives and to understand how digital devices and social media platforms work.

Experts suggest the following ten strategies to safeguard your children from the dangers of cyberbullying.

1. Early on, establish appropriate boundaries

Protecting your child from cyberbullying is best done before it begins. According to cybersecurity expert Jerry Thompson, placing controls and permissions on the usage of internet-enabled devices in the family as soon as children get access to technology is vital to prevent cyberbullying occurrences.

He explained that this can assist children avoid becoming overly reliant on their computers and phones when they get older. Setting sensible boundaries on internet usage can also help kids grow as individuals and establish a healthy sense of self-worth that is separate from their digital persona.

2. Encourage open, healthy conversation.

It's better for you as a parent if your child feels safe talking to you about their insecurities and trusts you to address them. Let children know that if anything is inappropriate, distressing, or harmful, they can come to you for assistance.

Encourage your child to come to you first if they have any questions or concerns about their school relationships or online activities, according to Thompson. This will help safeguard them from cyberbullying. If kids broach the topic of acquiring their phone, computer, or social media account, he suggests talking about the rights and responsibilities that come with it.

You can work together to write a “Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities” that spells out what kind of behavior your child is allowed to engage in.

3. Create opportunities for learning.

It is safer to point out examples of cyberbullying to your child in order to teach them how to react and what not to do if they are confronted with the problem. It's also critical to start teaching children how to preserve their online privacy while they're young.

Thomson asserts that When it's appropriate, get the whole family together to talk about personal or national tales regarding cyberbullying, privacy, and other internet dangers. Use these occasions as icebreakers for discussions about what is and isn't acceptable online, as well as what you and your child can do in the event of an emergency.

Inquire about your child's reactions to specific occurrences and solicit ideas on how you might best assist them online.

4. Pay attention to how much time your child spends online

It is critical to keep track of how much time your child spends online in order to safeguard them from cyberbullies. If you notice an increase in online activity, or if your child appears increasingly or emotionally concerned with their phone or computer, it could be a warning sign, according to Thompson.

If you need to check your child's internet account but don't have a prior agreement in place, it's usually better to talk to them about your concerns and plans ahead of time (or immediately afterwards, if the situation is truly urgent).

Explain why you believe or believe it is vital to take action, and include them in the decision-making process.

5. Keep an eye on any sudden changes in behavior.

Keep an eye out for any sudden behavioural changes in your child, as they could indicate something more serious. Thompson continued, Isolation, disengagement, and dislike to previously enjoyed hobbies or social circumstances can all be signs of cyberbullying.

It's rarely advisable to break your child's confidence by skimming through their text messages or private communications without their awareness unless it's an extraordinary scenario. This might easily backfire, leading to even more secrecy.

6. Don't let your emotions get the best of you

One of the things that young children fear is their parents' reaction when they discover something is wrong with them. Some parents even hold their children responsible for situations that are beyond their control.

When it comes to cyberbullying, it's better to express gratitude to your child for sharing their worry with you and work together to find a long-term solution.

Pattie Fitzgerald, a childcare and internet safety education expert, stated that a parent should Be supportive and understanding if your child is being bullied. Determine how long the bullying has been going on, who the bullies are, and how you will collaborate to find a solution. Make it clear to your child that he or she is not to responsible for being bullied.

6. Telling your child to "shrug it off" is not a good idea.

Many parents are unable to properly handle situations in which their children are bullied, so they resort to downplaying the child's feelings by advising them to shrug it off or encourage them to deal with the bullies on their own.

According to Fitzgerald, Bullying causes significant emotional distress in children and teenagers, and it can have long-term consequences. Don't make fun of your child for being bullied or respond with the mindset that "kids will be kids".

7. Keep a note of bullies and report them to their school

It's critical to keep track of who cyberbullied your child, as well as what they said or did.

Sherri Gordon, a bullying prevention expert, recommended parents to keep messages, comments, and postings as proof. This includes emails, blog entries, social media posts, tweets, text messages, and so on, according to Gordon. Although your child's first impulse may be to delete everything, tell them that you can't prove cyberbullying without evidence.

You should be allowed to delete comments once you've gathered the evidence and spoken with the school and the police.

If the cyberbullying occurred on school grounds, she said, reporting the incident was critical because it would make it easier to identify and punish the bullies, potentially putting an end to the practice.

8. Seek counseling and assistance

One of the most common blunders made by most parents whose children have been victims of cyberbullying is believing that they can manage the situation on their own. This may only serve to further isolate the youngster, resulting in a worsening of the situation. Cyberbullying, as Gordon pointed out, is a serious problem that cannot be solved on its own.

Surround your youngster with friends and relatives who will help him or her succeed. It's important to remember that talking to someone about what's going on may be really beneficial.

To assist your kid in healing, seek out a competent therapist. If you observe changes in your child's mood, sleeping patterns, or eating habits, you should get them examined by a healthcare expert.

9. Participate in lobbying campaigns.

If your child is dealing with cyberbullying, it's best to take a step back and look at the broader picture. Participating in and organizing activities and seminars can assist your kid in overcoming cyberbullying, which may also affect other youngsters. Consider assisting in the planning of school-wide, student-led cyberbullying events and campaigns, and talk with school administration about suitable activities and events.

These efforts can help raise awareness and involve kids in a proactive, positive way in addressing social media hazards – without casting an unwelcome focus on your child's personal experiences.”