In this digital age, not only are adults using technology day in and day out for both professional and personal use, but children are also learning how to use digital tools at a very young age. So, it’s crucial to keep in mind that anytime your child is using a computer or mobile device, they could fall victim to cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying involves spreading taunts or rumors through text message, social media and other sites or forums. Monitoring your children with attention and care as they use the internet for school or entertainment can help your children stay mentally healthy.
Speak with your child one-on-one
Communicating with children on a regular basis can help them build up their self-worth and strengthen their trust in you. Setting a safe space for your child to voice the positive and negative aspects of their life is important. It gives you a chance to ask your children how their friends and peers are treating them both in-person and online. Plus, making one-on-one conversations a habit will allow your child to feel more comfortable coming forward about mistreatment.
Monitor your child’s online habits
Even if you feel like you don’t want to be intrusive or disrespect your child’s privacy, the reality is a little bit of surveillance can go a long way. A couple ways you can do this is by friending your child on social sites and watching their public interactions or viewing their search history to see what type of websites they are frequenting. This will help you detect any patterns of unkind posts and make sure your child isn’t on any websites or chat sites that you don’t want them to use.
Restrict use of certain sites
Depending on your child’s age, you might want to ban them from using certain social media sites until they are older. This is because even if you follow them on Twitter or Instagram, chances are you won’t be reading all the private messages they send out and receive (which is usually where cyberbullies lurk). There are apps and software you can use to monitor or block your child from visiting specific sites until you believe they are mature enough to navigate them.
It can be frustrating that the same sites you use to keep in touch with relatives across the world can be a feeding ground for bullies. However, being proactive about tracking your child’s online interactions can help them stay connected with true friends instead of bullies.