Parents have always worried over their children. Parents worry about sickness, injuries, educational challenges, family stress and bullying among other things. However, as our technology advances so does the risks that our children are being exposed too. In decades past parents did not have to worry about internet predators, but modern parents know that this is a real threat and that measures must be taken to keep our children safe. Another new threat that modern parents face is the issue of cyber-bullying. At first look, many parents may think this is just silly and not a real issue, but the truth is cyber-bullying has become a real issue that affects the emotional well-being of our children. Ignoring this problem will not make it go away. In fact, ignoring any type of bullying is the reason that bullying persists and is actually getting worse in recent years. Learn about the sad Realities of Cyberbullying.
In order for parents to take a proactive role in their children’s lives, they must first be aware. You need to be aware of all interactions and relationships your children are involved in whether in person or on the internet. It is well within your bounds to be nosey about your children. They are your children and everything they do is your business. This is especially true of very young children. As your kids get older you may need to take on more of a guidance role as you attempt to let your teen have some privacy. Teens do need to learn how to deal with their problems on their own, but always with the assurance that you are close by and ready to assist.
Types of Cyber-Bullying
One way that a parent can become more aware is to educate themselves on the types of cyberbullying that their children might be exposed to. It is especially important for you to educate yourself on this because, honestly, this simply was not an issue when you were young. According to www.stopcyberbullying.org cyberbullying can take place as internet harassment via social media sites such as Facebook or other social media sites. This is the predominate type of cyberbullying because it affords the bully a large audience and easy access to their victim.
Another type of cyberbullying is done via mobile phone. Because many teens and even children own mobile phones that have texting and internet capabilities, there is a whole new world of bullying options open to bullies. A bully does not easily get bored with their actions, so sending harassing texts messages for hours is actually a form of entertainment to them.
Remember who is in Charge
You may not always be able to be physically with your child when they are at school or other activities. Sometimes bullying can take place when a parent is not around and you will not have any control over that incident until you are made aware of it. However, cyberbullying is very different, because a cyber-bully only has access to your child when it is given to them. A cyber bully can only text your child if your child gave out their number. A cyber bully can only bully your child on social media sites if your child has given the bully access to their profile. You and your child are in complete control of who has access to their internet activities. Therefore it becomes the parent’s responsibility to not only monitor your child’s cyber activities, but to also educate and empower your child about who to invite into their cyber activities. You are in control here. If your child constantly shows the inability to choose wisely whom they invite into their cyber activities, then it is your job as a parent to assess whether or not your child is mature enough to handle the technology privileges you have given them.
Sometimes tough love is necessary in order to keep your child safe from cruel people that your child may desperately want to be a part of their lives. Do not be pressured into allowing your child to remain in contact with individuals that are destructive to their emotional well-being. You are the parent. You are in control.
You Are Not the Only One
If your child has been a victim of Cyber-Bullying it may help to assure them that they are not alone in dealing with this problem. Many celebrities have also suffered from Cyber-Bullying. You may want to share some quotes on cyber bullying. For instance Demi Lavato (former Disney star) has often spoken out about her own struggles with Cyber-Bullying. “People don’t realize how badly verbal harassment and Cyber-Bullying affects you, what they said to me sticks to me to this day.” Many celebrities have to deal with cyber bullying on a daily basis as their every move and decision gets hashed over via Facebook and Twitter. Many celebrities take an empowerment approach with their quotes on cyber bullying. Actor Brandon Dooling shares this insight, “It’s easy to be mean when you’re anonymous.There are a lot of people who wouldn’t have the cajones to say in person what they do online. Opinions of your friends and family matter, but you can’t listen to somebody who is nobody to you.”
Understand Your Rights
You should understand that because Cyber-Bullying has become such an issue in the U.S. there are laws enacted now that can protect your child from internet harassment. In some instances cyberbullying is taken too far and can actually fall under the category of threats and harassment. You can better educate yourself concerning internet harassment laws at www.ncsl.org. The National Conference of State Legislatures has very helpful information posted at their site.
Do Not Underestimate Cyber-Bullying
Cyber-Bullying is a real problem that requires real action. The website tragic stories of young people that have taken their own lives as a result of cyber harassment. It is not necessary to frighten your children with this type of information, but as a parent you should be fully aware of how emotionally traumatizing this type of bullying can actually be on your child. Please take some time to read the stories of these young people that became true victims of cyber harassment.