Technology has become not only an integral part of life, but also an integral part of school. It’s not just used to help with essay writing, research assignments, or presentations it’s also a large part of how children socialize. Whether it’s through social media, messaging services, gaming sites, or texting there’s many ways that young people communicate, which can lead to non-traditional forms of bullying. In recent years cyberbullying has become one of the more pervasive forms of bullying because it has the power to reach children 24 hours a day and in the privacy of their own home. Ensuring your children aren’t a victim, or an instigator, of cyberbullying takes vigilance. Today’s blog is about understanding more about cyberbullying and looking for ways to fight it.
What is Cyberbullying?
Learning to prevent cyberbullying means you have to fully understand what it is. In its simplest forms, cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over any digital devices and can occur through Social Media, online forums, text, instant messaging, or apps. Essentially any online place where participants can engage with or share content. It usually takes the form of sharing content that is personally humiliating, which can include false, negative, and harmful information.
What does it Look Like?
Some simple ways that you may see this type of bullying rear its head is:
- Sending hurtful emails, texts, voicemails, or private messages directly to the victim.
- Breaking into an email account to send inappropriate message under the identity of the victim.
- Using technology to trick a victim into revealing private information, which is then used to post on the internet.
Why is it so Bad?
This type of bullying can be particularly damaging because of how it is effects so much of the victims life. When harmful images and comments are posted on social media or the internet it can sometimes be viewed by strangers, which can make the content be more easily shared. These posts are often hard to take down which creates a more permanent public record that’s sometimes difficult to ignore. Additonally, because the abuser has the ability to access their technology 24 hours a day it can seem impossible to escape from. Cyberbullying can also be difficult to recognize because teachers or parents may not be part of the online communities where the bullying is taking place.
How Can I Prevent It?
As a family there are steps you can take to help prevent cyberbullying. Here are a few ways that we find helpful:
- Remind children not to share their login information with anyone. This includes close friends. Keeping your passwords private is a key way to preventing anyone from taking over your online accounts.
- As a family create some simple rules on how children can use their technology. This can include limiting how, when, where they can access it.
- If you allow your children to use social media ensure their privacy settings are enabled to only allow specific people to post, share, or comment about them.
- Take the time to understand your child’s online world. Research and visit the sites they are most interested in.
- Communicate with your children regularly about what’s happening in their digital lives.
- Model how to treat others with respect online. Setting this example is a great way to show children how they should treat others, but also sets a good example of how others should be treating them.
Comment below to let us know how you protect your children from cyberbullying.
~ Alicia & Jeremy