Cyberbullying is one of the major problems of our society. According to cyberbullying.org, more than eight kids from your average classroom with 25-30 children have experienced this dangerous phenomenon. That's a whooping third of the class, and, needless to say, it's worrisome. What's even more problematic is that around three to four children from the same classroom admit they've been cyber bullies at one point. Then there are cases where other kids witness dangerous acts but they don't tell a teacher or the school's principle about it.
Th consequences of being bullied online are often tragic. Many of the children going through this incredibly harmful situation decide to take their own lives. Either because they're afraid to speak up or they think no one will do anything about their problem anyway. Online bullying can mean abusers threatening to expose private data on social media platforms, posting offensive comments in forums, and so on. Parents, teachers, and the police have a crucial role in preventing or stopping bullying from happening. Out of these three categories, the parents are the ones with the biggest responsibility. They must be their kids' pillars of strength in dark times.
Good news is, there are certain ways to protect your kids against abusive behaviour online. Let's take a look at them below.
Talk to your child about cyberbullying
One of the first things you can do to prevent online harassment is to explain to your kid what it means. If they receive threatening messages on Facebook and other social media platforms they use, they should tell you about it ASAP. Learning to recognize early signs of cyberbullying is key to your kid's online safety. By being there for them, your child will know they have someone to rely on if things go sideways.
Keep track of your kid's online activity
Now that your offspring knows what abusive online behaviour is about, have a talk with them about your decision to install a monitoring app on their smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Explain that you're doing this for their own good. You don't want to be the kind of parent who comes to their child's room at night, takes their phone, and sneakily adds such a monitoring app. Being sincere about it goes a long way.
After the app is installed on your child's mobile device, you can control their online activity at any given time.
Look for a reliable security solution
Nowadays, you can find a strong security product without looking too much. The ideal Internet security applications software should come with strong Parental Control. This specific feature keeps your kid away from harmful content. Parental control allows you to supervise the activity of your child remotely, so you'll know what your kid is looking at if they use your PC when you're at work or some place else.
Antiviruses that use this module feature a filter list of certain websites you don't want your kid to open, age-appropriate website filtering, and so many other useful options.
Set rules for your child's online activity
Too many parents are way too carefree when it comes to how their kids use the Internet. Don't be one of them. Instead, make sure you lay down a set of rules for them. Limiting their screen time should be one of the them.
Another idea would be to tell them what they're allowed or not allowed to do online. Sleep is sleep, so remind them that they should shut down their mobile devices or PCs when it's time for bed. Check on them from time to time to see that they don't use their gadgets when they should be sleeping.
Tell your kid to save evidence of online harassment
Reporting cyberbullying as soon as it happens needs to be the first thing your daughter or son does. Keeping copies of abusive emails or messages received on social media platforms from cyber bullies is recommended. As is the use of the nifty print screen option on your computer. You can also do that on a mobile device by installing apps that perform screen captures.
As soon as all evidence of online harassment has been saved by you or your young one, go to the police with it.
Netiquette is essential
Teach your girl or boy how to behave online. Tell them to always remember to respect people both online and offline. Netiquette can be very useful in preventing cruel behaviour from happening in the first place. If a cyber bully becomes aggressive, your kid should, under no circumstance, do the same. This will online make the attacker become more and more violent.
One of the best tactics to use against a disparaging person is to simply ignore or block them. Don't let them get under your skin and don't fire back, even if you'd love nothing more than that. They will eventually stop.