It’s hard being a child in today’s society. Everything is consistently changing. The rules, the technology, the friends, the trends and the clothes. How does a child cope? The pressure on children is so prevalent, that it’s hard to keep track. As a parent, it’s a nightmare even thinking about the things your child is exposed to on a daily and even hourly basis. With children online being so plugged into technology, you can’t be sure what is going on. Although monitoring is helpful, you can’t truly know what your child is exposed to all the time. Cyberbullying is very prevalent in the online world. Phones, gaming systems, social media … there are so many outlets that can affect your child negatively, it’s pretty hard to keep up with them all. That is the reality of children online.

So what is the reality of children online?

The evidence on social “stalking” is scary. It puts a lot of pressure on kids. Most of the time, your child knows the people that are trying to cause them harm. It may start as a harmless prank, but children don’t realize that their harmless prank may escalate into something bigger and balloon out of control. Children don’t think about the self-esteem issues that the other party may be going through. As a child, self-image is important. For most children doing the cyberbullying, it’s a quick laugh. Children also don’t think about the doors that are opened once they become a part of the online world. Various sites, such as Instagram, have become so popular that children can’t seem to unplug. Even though it’s just pictured, the pictures posted by children or their followers range from rude to risqué, and their parents don’t even know their child is on that social networking site.

As a parent, the pressure is there for you too. If you’re a parent that is hip and cool, then you have a certain rapport with your child and you can closely monitor their sites and comment. If, on the other hand, you’re a parent that does not have a really close relationship with your child, or your child feels cornered, it will be very hard for you to monitor because your child will not give you screen names, or even let you know that they are a part of that online world. Unfortunately, schools play an integral part in cyberbullying without even realizing it. Why? In school, children talk about what’s going on and what’s cool. They have long discussions on who was on the online game yesterday, whether or not you saw someone’s picture on Instagram or Facebook, or even if you saw someone’s tweet.

Additionally, with so many schools pushing for online education in the K-12 setting, it’s no wonder children are so attached to technology. Technology can be a good thing, but it can also be a matter of life and death. Students who aren’t really a part of that world, feel pressured to become connected. So many children carry cell phones now that it’s become a regular way of living. Kindergarten students even have cell phones and they can use a smartphone better than their parents ever could. Almost every child today either has a laptop or private online access. They may also have multiple social media accounts under different names. Parents definitely need to be concerned.

With so much pressure on your child to fit in, as a parent, you should check their behaviour. It’s almost a guarantee that at some point, your child will have an issue with someone at school. Chances are also that your child’s riff will turn into an online situation. If your child starts displaying erratic behaviour, such as running to the gaming system and staying on for long periods of time or always being online, it’s time to monitor that situation. Your child may not be the one being bullied, but may actually be the instigator. Although not an ideal situation, it’s one that parents must think about and be prepared to deal with immediately.

Children Online: Some signs of cyberbullying are:

  • Your child is suddenly getting poor grades
  • Your child does not want to go to school
  • Your child is straying away from technology when they used to constantly be on the computer, phone, etc.,
  • Self Image issues start to occur

If you see any of these behaviours displayed, have a conversation, and FAST. Children have so many social pressures going on that they may not want you to get involved, or they don’t feel that there is a viable solution to the problem. Truthfully, the pressures children face in today’s society, especially online, are greater and more serious under the surface than most people realize. Parents … get plugged in. If you’re a parent and need to find out more about social media sites, or want to learn how to become a part of today’s technology, can help.

Technology has moved children into an arena that most can’t adequately handle sooner rather than later. As parents, it’s time to fight back and give your children back their childhood. Believe it or not, they are counting on you.

Learn how to protect your children from Cyberbullying. Spread the word about Children Online!