What is Cyberbullying?
The definition of cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass someone, usually by sending aggressive and intimidating messages. Cyberbullying can be found on all forms of social media platforms. Some of the more popular ones include Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and the traditional text messaging.
Cyberbullying can also include sending out personal and private photos of someone known as revenge porn. It also includes threats of destructive behavior to one or more people. Some cyberbullying can even be considered unlawful and require criminal charges. As we see the world more tuned into technology, we are starting to see that cyberbullying is more prevalent than ever.
Because kids put their personal lives online for all to see, they are subject to hate from anyone. This hate can be permanent considering once something is online, its hard to erase it completely.
Cyberbullying is also unique because its hard to recognize. A teacher or parent can’t overheard a child bullying another child because its done primarily on their phones. Compared to traditional bullying, cyberbullying can be done virtually without any action besides your typing thumbs.
If your child is under fire from cyberbullying, they can’t seek relief when they leave school because the bullying goes beyond the school walls. Kids can be relentless when it comes to bullying and smartphones have made it easier than ever. Cyberbullying has also been linked to poor sleep and depression in teens.
“Cyber-victimization on the Internet and social media is a unique form of peer victimization and an emerging mental health concern among teens who are digital natives,” said Misol Kwon, a doctoral student in the university’s School of Nursing. “Understanding these associations supports the need to provide sleep hygiene education and risk prevention and interventions to mistreated kids who show signs and symptoms of depression.”
When cyberbullying happens, this could mean the possibility of the comment or comments going viral. With the newest generation obsessed with putting others down and making a negative public statement, the internet is always looking for someone to do that to.
But how can parents prevent and protect?
The first thing to do is to talk. Talking to your child will ensure that they are listening to some of your warnings about the dangers of online. Ask your child what they think cyberbullying means and how they think it effects others. Also ask them what they would do if they saw a classmate getting cyberbullied. Getting their insight will help direct the conversation. Once the conversation is started, you can explain how and why cyberbullying is not something that is tolerated. You can also explain that cyberbullying effects everyone and that taking about it before it gets worse is vital.
Another thing to keep in mind is remember that a safe, happy, and healthy environment is the key to preventing negative side effects on your child. Providing your child with the care and nurture they need can pay off greatly in the long run as they grow up. This could also prevent bullying to happen.
In addition to the above, checking privacy settings is also important. Enabling privacy settings can help keep out the negative parts of the internet from your child. Ensuring that these controls are set will help.
Teach your child that it isn’t their fault that they are being bullied and that retaliation isn’t an option. Retaliating against a bully can do more harm than good.
Another helpful tool when it comes to preventing and protecting is saving the evidence. If the attacks continue and are harming the welfare of your child, having evidence will be able to prove your child needs protective measures. Blocking the bully can also help with unwanted and continued harm. Take screenshots, get the bully’s social media information, and be sure not to delete anything.
Also, thinking before you act as a parent is essential to your child. The reason behind this is because bullies act on gaining power. They are driven by the idea of putting others down to make themselves feel superior. If the bully finds out that the child’s parent is taking action against them, it might be a negative response. Choosing a plan that executes your goal AND protecting your child is key.
Working with your child is another important thing to remember. Having your child communicate with you and keep you in the loop of their daily school activities is very beneficial to you. Remember, you and your child are a team and are working together to help them live their best life.
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