Kids have it rough these days. Before the advent of computers, the only bully your children had to worry about was on the school playground, walking home after school or on the bus. This situation was dealt with swiftly and ended the bullying quickly.
That is not the case in this age of the internet with more and more children using Facebook, texting, and email. Now more than ever our kids may be subjected to CyberBullying. This is the act of harassing or bullying an individual or group, using technology such as the internet, cell phones and related technologies.
We have all either experienced this first hand with our own children, heard about it happening to our friends and co-workers children, or heard it on the news. Now, more than ever parents and yes, even grandparents have to become more aware and take an active role to help protect children from CyberBullying.
First and foremost, have an open conversation with your kids. Explain in detail what constitutes CyberBullying. Make sure that they understand that CyberBullying is not to be tolerated, and if they are subjected to it, they need to tell you immediately when it happens.
Most children may think they should try to handle the situation themselves by responding to harassing emails and text messages. Parents make it clear to your children that this is not an acceptable way to react to CyberBullying. In fact, this may escalate the bullying and put your children at greater risk.
The children need to understand that the internet can spread the harassing documentation at a rate that will make their heads spin. The photos, videos and messages can be posted in an instant and go viral before you can blink an eye. Therefore, the child needs to inform their parents immediately of the CyberBullying so that they can take the necessary actions to stop it.
Parents, to recap, explain to your children what CyberBullying is and that the proper way to handle it is to tell you about it immediately. They are not to respond to any of it, and stress that they should not delete any of the harassing documentation.
As a parent try to be supportive and understanding when your child approaches you about this matter. Report the CyberBullying activity to the websites it took place on. This is usually done on the website through a “report” or “abuse” button. Finally, the school administrators need to be notified so they can monitor the situation at school and watch over your child.
To learn more about the how to deal with Cyberbullying please visit the websites listed below:
National Crime Prevention Council http://www.ncpc.org/
Stop Cyberbullying Before it Starts (PDF) http://www.ncpc.org/resources/
Cyberbullying Research Center http://www.cyberbullying.us/
State Cyberbullying Laws (PDF) http://www.cyberbullying.us/
Stop Cyberbullying http://www.stopcyberbullying.
Have you or someone you know experienced CyberBullying? How did you handle it?