Bullies no longer depend on intimidating stature or muscular strength; their terror reigns omnipresent on the web and leaves nowhere for victims to hide. How can parents detect cyberbullying and whether or not children are falling prey to online attacks?
To raise awareness about cybersecurity and elevate resiliency in case of a cyber attack, our nation has designated October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Get educated on securing information on your computer by following cyber protection services on social media sites like LifeLock on Linkedin to learn more about safeguarding personal data.
This month is an ideal time for families to discuss how to safely use the Internet, especially to children. Parents should keep a watchful eye on their children until adulthood, especially concerning Internet usage and their behavior around it.
Create a nexus account between you and your child; encourage open two-way communication. A simple “how was your day?” will not suffice, however—if you suspect that your child is a victim of cyberbullying, directly initiate a conversation while showing unwavering support. On the flip side, parents should also be on the lookout for their child committing acts of cyberbullying. Prior incidents of being the aggressor or victim of bullying increases the likelihood that your child will take up the mantle of bully online.
By observing your child’s Internet/cellphone habits, rapid changes will present themselves as glaringly obvious. Is your son or daughter spending less time texting or at the computer? Does your child seem withdrawn, depressed or anxious after online activities? Perhaps, your child is less socially active than before or displays anxiety and wariness before school. The first step in addressing the issue is identifying that your child is prey for cyberbullying.
Now that you’ve identified the situation, how do you address this emotionally damaging issue? There are a multitude of solutions that parents can utilize to end the torment of a cyberbully.
Ignore or Confront Them
It’s important to enlighten your child that responding to a cyberbully will only empower them. Of course, if the issue persists, civilly encounter the aggressor and be frank about how their actions are affecting you—the bully may stop if he or she has any empathy.
Block & Report
Many sites allow the you to block particular users from communicating or seeing you online. Most newer smartphones are capable of blocking numbers—if not, contact your service provider to address the problem.
Harassment violates terms of service on social media sites. Tell your child to report the incident to content providers or site monitors. They may be able to terminate the cyberbully’s account.
If your child’s safety is threatened, don’t hesitate to contact school officials or the police department. The school or police will enact disciplinary or legal action if the issue is serious enough. Provide evidence of the text messages from phones and screen shots or printouts from the cyberbullying activity.