This is a post and accompanying infographic are contributed to Mother’s Circle by several anti-cyberbullying nonprofits to guide parents in helping our children to prevent cyberbullying.
There’s no way to deny that technology is an important part of modern life. Teens check their social media profiles over one hundred times a day. This is a pretty insanely high number, so, as a parent, you may be worried about what exactly they’re doing while they’re busy tweeting, texting, and snapchatting. A very common concern for parents right now is cyberbullying. How can you protect your kids online? Keep reading for a few tips.
Cyberbullying is similar to the kind of bullying you grew up with, except that it takes place entirely using electronic technology. Sometimes, this bullying comes as a response to something your teenager posted online or did in person, but other times, it’s entirely random. It’s definitely a sad situation to face, but a little bit of education and preparation can help you prevent it from happening again.
Websites like Ask.fm and YikYak allow teens to share their thoughts openly and anonymously. For some, this can be a bit of a freeing activity, but it can quickly lead to disastrous effects. Having an honest conversation about these apps will help your teen make responsible choices about the internet and better understand your point of view.
If your teen is have trouble with cyberbullying, don’t lay the blame on them. At this point, it doesn’t do any good to remind them of how they could have prevented the bullying from taking place. Instead, be supportive and accepting of their struggles. When they’re feeling a bit better, you can have a discussion about internet safety going forward.
Set An Example
While you’re worrying about your kids having issues with cyberbullying, so are plenty of other parents. Talk to your children about how to not become cyberbullies themselves. Remind them that everything they put on the internet is permanent, and that they could seriously hurt someone with their words.
Honesty is the best policy. Tell your kids that cyberbullying didn’t exist when you were their age, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help them with it. In order to work with your kids on this issue, they have to trust you. If you pretend to know lots about technology, they’ll quickly lose this trust. Be honest- admit when you don’t know the answer to something, then go and figure it out together. [Honesty is one of the keys to parenting with confidence in the Naked Parenting series.]
For younger teens, the infographic below is a great resource to educate them on the risks and benefits of social media use, especially as it relates to cyberbullying.