By: Meghan Mathias
As more and more kids are born into the digital age, one where communication and socialization is primarily done through our phones, concerns about how to keep children safe from the dangers of the Internet run high. The fear of your child getting bullied at school is now coupled with the fear of them getting cyberbullied online. Is there a way to prevent cyberbullying before it even occurs?
According to StopBullying.gov, cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell-phones, computers, and tablets. It can occur through texts, social media, online forums, gaming, etc. and it can consist of sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. There was a 70% increase in the amount of cyberbullying and hate speech among teens and children in the month since the COVID-19 lockdown began, and as forms of remote learning continue well into 2021, this phenomena doesn’t look like it will stop any time soon.
Here are some preventative measures you can take as a parent to stop cyberbullying before it happens. None of these are foolproof, and you can never know every single thing going on in your child’s life, especially the details that happen behind a screen. However, it is important to know that you are doing all you can.
- Set up all of your child’s online profiles with them so that you know all of their usernames and passwords
- Talk to your child about cyberbullying and educate them on signs of a cyberbully and actions that they can take to stop the bullying before it even starts, such as blocking that person and then logging out
- Set some house rules for technology use, such as only allowing computer, laptop, and gaming system use in common areas of the house
- Keep an eye out for signs of cyberbullying in your child’s behavior, such as increased or decreased use of technology and symptoms of depression/anxiety that weren’t there before
- Make it clear to your child that being cyberbullied is not their fault and that they will never get in trouble for telling you about it
- Do you have any friends who have been cyberbullied? How did they handle the situation?
- What are some common types of cyberbullying that you have heard of?
- Why is it important to share your usernames and passwords with your parents?
- What are some steps you can take to protect yourself from cyberbullies?
Savvy Cyber Kids educates and empowers digital citizens, from parents and grandparents, to teachers and students. Sign up for our free resources to help you navigate today’s digital world with cyber ethics. See more cyber safety and cyber ethics blogs produced exclusively for EarthLink. Looking for a social media parental control? Try a 30-day free trial of Bark. If you sign up after your trial, Bark donates 25% of your monthly fee to Savvy Cyber Kids.
Thank you to the Savvy Cyber Kid’s sponsors!
Interested in becoming a Savvy Cyber Kids sponsor? Email Ben Halpert.