We are undoubtedly living in a digital age. No longer are we forced to go out and actually physically communicate with the people in our lives. Because of this propensity to rely on digital technology we are experiencing a whole new set of social issues and most of them are afflicting the youngest people of the current generation. Bullying has been an issue since the dawn of time but normally there were ways to physically get away from it. Now, through computers and cell phones, cyberbullying has become a plague on our adolescents. Let’s take a look at what cyberbullying is and how to stop cyberbullying from plaguing our own homes.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the act of antagonizing someone through the digital space. The classic comparison is the ‘school yard bully’ who would push around kids for their lunch money. Now, though, the internet has made it impossible to fully get away from bullies and even made bullying a more popular thing. Here are a few common examples of cyberbullying:
- Adam posts a picture of himself on Facebook. His peers at school get a hold of the picture and decide to do all sorts of ugly things to it. They share it with each other on their own pages.
- Jessica really doesn’t like Andrew so she decides to post hateful things about him on a website. Andrew reads them and is hurt.
- A group of children make up fake profiles so that they send mean messages to a child that they all think is a loser.
Seeing these examples of prevalent bullying will put pits in the stomachs of parents everywhere. The urge to protect their child is strong but there seem to be fewer and fewer ways to do so. With the internet so prevalent in our lives, how can we stop cyberbullying?
How To Stop Cyberbullying
Stopping cyberbullying comes down to two things, really. The first step that parents should focus on is prevention. Preventing your child from experiencing the effects of cyberbullying can go a long way toward dissuading it from ever happening. The second step that parents should take is the adopt a serious attitude. Many people, parents included, like to think of bullying on the internet as some sort of passive thing. It’s not. It hurts children exactly the same way as if they were insulted in school.
While knowing the general ways to react to cyberbullying is helpful, it doesn’t really tell you how to stop cyberbullying. Here are a few key ways that you can play an active part in the life of your child as they weave through this traumatic experience.
Reduce Their Internet Time
For most problems in life, the idea of ‘ignoring it’ as a solution is laughable. Simply pretending a problem isn’t there doesn’t stop it from existing. In the case of cyberbullying, things are a little bit different. The bullies typically are behaving in an antagonistic manner not just to be mean but in order to get a reaction. If your child is suffering from cyberbullying one of the simplest ways to diffuse the situation is by taking them away from it. Reduce your child’s time spent on the internet, at least until the bullying calms down.
Record All Instances of Bullying
If you want to know how can you stop cyberbullying the answer is simple: by catching the bully. Cyberbullying has its own fair share of issues but one of the few perks is that it is easy to track. By keeping a record of all instances of bullying you can build a case against the bullies at hand. Having records of their transgressions will give you power when it comes time to notify the authorities.
Speak To The School
If your child is experiencing bullying from peers at school then the school needs to be immediately included in the conversation. The school will act as a mediator between your family and the family of the bully involved. Many times the parents of the bully have no idea what their child is doing and won’t have a problem stepping in to help put an end to the issue. At the very least your notification of the problem to the school will elevate the issue and give it the attention that it deserves.
Talk With Your Child
How can cyberbullying be stopped? By educating everyone involved, of course! Your child may react to bullying from an emotional ‘gut’ instinct which can cause to elevate the problems at hand. You can put a pin on these emotional reactions by simply sitting down and discussing the problem with your kid. This way you are providing a healthy outlet for the feelings that are building up inside of them. You will be able to explain the proper ways to react without escalating the issue even further.
Approach The Authorities
There are certain cases where cyberbullying warrants an immediate alerting of the authorities. If you feel that your child is being harmed then by all means make this happen. Contact the police with all the evidence of cyberbullying that you possess and create a case. Cyberbullying is far too common and a reason behind many cases of suicide in adolescence. It is not worth waving away or ignoring it until things get worse.
Cyberbullies Are As Strong As We Make Them
When children are bullied there are many reasons to be observed behind the action. The bullying could come from the perspective of a jealous child, an angry child, or even an abused one. These bullies live to get a reaction out of their victims. They want to see, hear, or know that they did damage in a physical or an emotional way. A bully without any reactions from their victim will quickly grow bored of the act. Knowing this fact can allow kids to stay calm in the face of these cruel children. Practice situational awareness with your child so as to prevent the elevation of bullying cases in their life.