Cyber Bullying Advice For Parents
Many young people say that they wouldn’t report cyber bullying because most adults don’t know that they have a cyber life - and if they report, then the technology will be taken away from them.
They are also likely to take the position that their online activities are their business. But parents have a moral, as well as a legal, responsibility to ensure that their children engage in safe and responsible behaviour – including online behaviour.
So what can parents do?
- Get involved and be aware
- Learn everything you can about information and communication technologies and how your child is using them. Talk to them about the places they go online and the activities that they are involved in.
- Encourage your child to come to you if anybody says or does something that makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. Stay calm and keep the lines of communication and trust open. If you “freak out” they won’t turn to you for help when they need it.
- Take action if your daughter or son is being bullied online
- Watch out for signs that your child is being bullied online – a reluctance to use the computer or go to school may be an indication.
- If the bullying is coming from a pupil at the same school, meet with school officials and ask for help in resolving the situation.
- Report any incident of online harassment and physical threats to your local police and your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
- If your child is bullied through a mobile phone, report the problem to your phone service provider. If it’s a persistent problem you can change the phone number.
- Encourage your child to develop their own moral code so they will choose to behave ethically with the technologies
- Talk to them about responsible use. Teach them to never post or say anything that they wouldn’t want the whole world - including you - to see or read.
- Work with them to create a contract or agreement with clear rules about ethical behaviour.
10 tips to help parents prevent cyberbullying
- Talk to the school. If the cyberbullying in question is coming from a classmate, contact school officials immediately to determine if they have a policy in place to deal with such behavior.
- Tell your kids not to open or read emails that they suspect are from cyberbullies. In the case of the Internet and Cyberbullying, what you can’t read won’t hurt you. Teach kids to dump suspicious emails right in the trash.
- Take advantage of the technology. Bullies who use chat rooms as a means for spreading hate can easily be blocked using most chat programs. Sit down and take the time to show your kids how they can filter out bad people from their conversations.
- Tell children NEVER to agree to meet someone they meet online. The Internet is filled with individuals who have bad intentions. Even those people who may seem trustworthy in their online persona may turn out to be a cyberbully or even a predator. Teach kids the importance of staying safe online.
- Supervise your kids’ online time. One of the most foolproof methods for stopping Cyberbullying is to monitor closely what your children do online. Tips for this method include removing computers with an Internet connection from the child’s bedroom and designating specific “family hours” for Internet use.
- Tell your kids to never share their passwords or personal information with anyone. Friends and acquaintances of your children can wield a great deal of power if the know the passwords to their favorite sites and chat rooms. One of the fastest-growing types of cyberbullying is stealing someone’s identity and making embarrassing, damaging statements in that person’s name.
- Monitor the use of your child’s photo online. Many cyberbullies will take your child’s photo and manipulate in ways that are damaging or embarrassing. Be very careful about the images your child presents online.
- Watch out for the warning signs. Kids who are being cyberbullied may not want to talk about the problem with their parents. Common warning signs include depression, withdrawal from social situations, and spending more and more time online.
- Be willing to contact the police. Parents who have gathered evidence about cyberbullying, and feel as if contacting the school has not stopped the problem should contact police – especially if the cyberbully has made threats to the health and well-being of the child.
- Stick to your guns. The Internet is a big part of your child’s life. Getting them to agree to be safe and limit their unsupervised time online may be difficult. Stay firm and continue to oversee their computer time – even if the child lashes out and claims that you are invading their privacy.