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How To Handle Cyberbullying

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Cyberbullying Main

 

Since October is National Bullying Prevention Month, we wanted to cover cyberbullying, which, unfortunately, is a growing trend on the Internet, fueled by social media.

Last month we discussed the need for parents to monitor their kids’ phones.  Digital monitoring should be an ongoing responsibility of all parents; their kids’ emotional stability may count on it.  The focus is not that the parent should “spy” on their children, but instead, identify friends and topics to talk to your children about.

Before phones, there has never been a good way to get a handle on the thoughts going through your child’s head.  With cellphones and in particular texting and social media accounts, there’s a whole dialogue to not only review, but see how your child reacts to other kids’ comments.

Monitoring your kids’ phones opens a myriad of topics to discuss with your child, creating an open dialogue to talk to your child about certain situations and possibly prevent cyberbullying.  

Parents must be proactive.  According to TeenSafe CEO, Rawdon Messenger,

Only 1  in 10  children will tell an adult if [cyberbullying] occurs.

 

According to a recent CNN Study, Being Thirteen, 94% of parents underestimate the amount of fighting that is occurring over social media channels.  CNN’s study found that…

a child’s self-worth is often closely connected to their digital interactions, they are more psychologically affected by online conflict than many parents understand.

 

The study went on to say that parents who kept a close eye on their child’s interactions online greatly effected their child’s psychological well-being.

Cyberbullying can affect your children in two main ways…

  1. Rumors spread about them
  2. Mean or harmful comments about them

 With 81% of kids saying that cyberbullying is easier to do online than in person and 90% of kids who say they’ve seen bullying online but ignored it, cyberbullying continues to be a growing epidemic.

Cyberbullying if left unchecked can lead to:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Poor school performance
  • Cutting or other type of self-abuse
  • Possibly even suicide

 

 

cellphone

 

How to Handle Cyberbullying

Not sure how to handle cyberbulling? Don’t let your teen…or your teens’ friends suffer in silence.  You can dramatically effect what is happening online with your child.  Here are some tips from the National Bullying Prevention Center

1.  Don’t Panic

If you find your child is being mistreated online, don’t over react.  Instead of immediately taking away all of your child’s digital devices, talk to your child and find out how s/he feels about the situation.  Kids see their online lives as an extension of themselves, it’s not just a temporary thrill.  If you tend to over react in situations, it’s most likely the reason your kid didn’t tell you about his/her problem in the first place.

 

2.  Show Your Child Some Tools To Protect Themselves

Help your child with ways to block comments or prevent others from seeing their posts.  Encourage them to report people who are using abusive, cyberbullying words to the companies owning the apps.  Help your child devise words to stick up for him/herself without attacking their attackers.

 

3.  Watch for the Affects of Cyberbullying

Your child may not tell you how s/he is really feeling directly, but often you can tell from their actions.  You know your child best.  If they are dreading school, lost their enthusiasm for life, or suddenly not doing well in school, these are all signs.

Your child may need professional help in order to restore some sense of normalcy again.

 

4.  It May Be Necessary to Report Your Child’s Situation to Someone 

Talk though the cyberbullying with your child and what they can do about it.    Give your child a chance to work through it first.  If the cyberbullying pursues, report the children involved to your child’s school.  Your child may not be the only child the bullies are demeaning.  It may also be necessary to contact the police, as cyberbullying can encroach across several cybercrimes such as harassment, stalking, identity theft, and more.

 

Is a Friend is Being Cyberbullied?

Encourage your child to speak up online to try to distract from or diffuse the situation.  Rather than ask the bully why they are harassing someone, your child should can use humor or directly state that…

No one has the right to humiliate or ridicule anyone else, it just isn’t cool.

 

These tips tell you how to handle cyberbullying…only if you are aware of it happening.  If you are not currently monitoring your child’s texts and social media accounts, now is the time to start.  See our Parental Monitoring article about some great apps you can use to help make this process more efficient for you.

The infographic below gives you some more interesting statistics about Cyberbullying.  Talk to your child about cyberbullying and how to handle it.  Doing so will help him/her and others to help prevent or stand up against it.

 

TeenSafe-NationalBullyingMonth

 

 



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