|Research shows that children and teens are the usual victims of cyberbullying as more than 92 percent of them regularly go online / Photo by: Ian Allenden via 123RF|
The rise of technology has enabled humanity in the modern era to enjoy a lot of things that we could only dream of before. These include the easy and convenient way of staying in touch with friends and loved ones even from across the globe, being able to talk to them face to face as if they are in the same room with us. Credit this to the internet that is serving as a bridge that connects people from different parts of the world, making it easier for everyone to build or keep friendships with a lot of people.
Unfortunately, the internet has also proven to be a double-edged sword, as it also has a negative side that can give a profound effect on its users. For instance, we now have cyberbullying that is an extension of the bullying that a lot of children are experiencing in school. This means that even when they are at home, kids can still be bullied once they log on to their computer and check out their accounts on social media. Several users call out other users for their misdoings without thinking that it can also be a form of cyberbullying. Research shows that children and teens are the usual victims of cyberbullying as more than 92 percent of them regularly go online.
Teens’ Presence on the Internet
According to the Family Online Safety Institute, an international nonprofit organization, “hyper-networking” teens who share more personal information online are more prone to being cyberbullied compared to their peers who don’t. It also revealed that one million children and teens were bullied on Facebook alone in 2017, while 87 percent reported witnessing or experiencing a risky behavior while using the internet.
Further research has also found that the younger generation is almost always online now, exposing themselves to the internet’s harmful aspects. This is why parents and caregivers should determine when enough is enough and start cutting down on their screentime just to protect them from the harmful things found on the web.
|Further research has also found that the younger generation is almost always online now, exposing themselves to the internet’s harmful aspects / Photo by: Katarzyna Białasiewicz via 123RF|
Most adults will be able to separate their online lives from their offline lives, but the young ones usually have a hard time making that distinction. The Conversation, a not-for-profit media outlet that uses content sourced from academics and researchers, stated in an article that parents must learn to accept that their child has an online life.
Young people tend to be online most of the time when parents restrict them from socializing outside the home due to safety concerns. As both parties may not be faulted for such behavior, given today’s social climate where it is harder to identify the predators from the genuine friends, parents for their part must not make their children feel that going online is something bad as well. Make them feel that you can accept the fact that social media is a tool for their communication with the outside world, and when you get the chance, have a healthy discussion with your children about the dangers lurking on the internet, including cyberbullying.
Always pay attention to their behavior and extend your involvement in their online activities. However, keep a safe distance in order to show that you also respect their privacy.
Discuss the Effects of Cyberbullying
You also need to make sure that your child won’t become a cyberbully themselves. As a parent, it is your responsibility to educate your child that it is not okay to harass others both online and offline. Let them know that their comments might hurt other people.
Comments and statuses on the internet can have a negative effect on users. This is why it is advisable to educate young kids about the serious effects of depression and anxiety that are caused by the bullies on the internet. Encourage your child to help someone they know who is struggling with mental illness to get the right help. Parents should also display positive behavior that can be helpful in eliminating the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses.
Children who experience bullying might display behavior changes. It can manifest in their preference for isolation and withdrawal from activities and other social situations that your child previously enjoyed. If the child’s online activity increases by a significant amount, it could mean that they are becoming more emotionally preoccupied with their online life.
|Children who experience bullying might display behavior changes. It can manifest in their preference for isolation and withdrawal from activities and other social situations that your child previously enjoyed / Photo by: Aleksandr Davydov via 123RF|
PC World, a website dedicated to helping tech users of all experience levels get more from the hardware and software that's central to a PC-centric universe, mentioned that cyberbullying happens to those kids who have devices that are unsupervised and unrestricted. If you’re not tech-savvy, you can get a tech expert to install some filters on your internet broadband connection.
Consider setting up texting and other messaging filters so that kids can connect with family and close friends only. Having a shared account for email and other apps is also helpful in keeping an eye on their online activities.
Let them know that they should have a time limit when it comes to their device usage. Explain that there’s a reason why you have to enforce it.
Finally, always act calmly and compassionately. Once your child feels like you are antagonizing them for their device use, there’s a tendency that they will hide their online presence from you. They will learn how to block and mute you from their accounts, and it will be harder for you to monitor and supervise their online activity.
Find a time to work together with them as you prevent cyberbullies from inflicting harm on them. Ask them how things work on the internet so that they can feel that they are involved in the process as well.