Are you sure that your child is not being bullied at school or through the digital devices? Now when kids spend more time with their digital devices, bullies have got a more powerful way to haunt their victims. And since the cases of cyber-bullying are on an increase, it becomes an utmost important responsibility of the parents to keep their kids safe from being victimized by the bullies around.
What is Cyberbullying?
When a bully uses any of these media – emails, instant messaging, text messages sent through cell phones, chat rooms or discussion groups, blogs, or any other information communication technologies to harass their victims, it is known as cyber bullying and can include anything like sending mean, threat inducing or vulgar message or images; posting any kind of sensitive or private information about a person in public; making a person feel bad or weak; mock a person or intentionally leave someone out of online group, etc.
It can have really serious consequences like bad health, depression, bad academic growth, suicidal thoughts, etc. According to a research about 7% of U.S. parents were found worried about cyber-bullying and around 33% of teenagers were found to be victimized. Notably, this devastating wicked issue is not confined to U.S. and is engulfing more and more kids across the globe, thus, it becomes important that parents take their stance in keeping their children safe.
How do you know that your Child is a Victim?
If you find your child suddenly spending more than usual or less than ever time on social networking sites and talking about putting off their social media account; looking disturbed, appearing withdrawn or totally upset after receiving or replying a text message; avoids the situations that they loved in the past; scared or furious after receiving a call; sudden increase in the number of calls and messages from new numbers, etc, you got to check out what’s wrong and why is your child behaving in an unusual way. This unusual behaviour can be the symptom of being victimized.
What can Parents do to Prevent Cyberbullying?
Talk to your Child, Be a friend
Be a friend to your child, talk frequently, this will encourage them to tell you what’s going on in their lives and they’ll not shy away in discussing things with you in times of crises. Discuss bullying with your child and educate them how to handle such situations. If your child isn’t very comfortable talking to you ask them to talk to some other reliable adult such as a teacher, sports coach, or guidance counsellor if they are bullied.
Be Empathetic; Don’t Under or Over React when your Child Approaches
If your child approaches you with a bullying issue don’t be rude or start the blame game that it is your child’s fault, this will break them and stop them from talking to you about their problems. Don’t be panicky either, this will scare them further. Nor under react at the issue thinking “kids will always be kids”, it may be far more serious than your imagination.
Ask your Child to Keep Evidence
Make bullying a tea time-talk of your family so that you can talk about it with your child as often as possible and keep awareness. Tell your child not to answer back aggressive emails, offensive text messages, in aggression or fury. Best is to ignore but evidence should be kept safe, back up of all such text messages, and emails should be printed out for evidence. Tell your child to block the bullies but never to delete their messages as they serve as important evidence.
Install Parental Control Software on your Child’ Cell phone
If you think your child will be too scared to talk to you or to any other reliable adult, it is a better to silently enter the secret world of kids by monitoring your child’s cellphone activities that will include complete details of incoming and outgoing calls, text messages and emails. And since you’ll get to keep a log of all the communication, you’ll have all the necessary evidences safe with you. And by tracing your child’s location, you’ll be able to help if any crisis takes place. You can block or blacklist the contacts that you feel your child should not communicate to and take earnest care of your child’s safety even when you’re physically not present with your child.