In today’s digital world, cyber-bullying is devastating – it can cause severe emotional trauma and even suicide because it’s anonymous; there’s no audience – cyber bullies operate in private with no one to see the crime unfold and they use all forms of technology to wreak havoc on their victims – including video, email, instant messages, texting and posts to social media websites.
As parents, it’s important to understand cyber bullying and do all you can to prevent it from happening to your child, intervene in a timely manner if your child becomes a victim or recognize if your child is bullying others.
Below are Cyber Bullying Tips you can use to protect your child from cyber bullying and action to take if your child becomes a victim.
- Install Software – Purchase and install parental control software on your child’s laptop and cell phone.
- Monitor Online Activity – Use monitoring software to see what your child is doing with -their digital devices.
- Computer Location – Keep your desktop computer in a central location (for young children and tweens).
- Contact with Bully – Tell your child not to respond to any emails, IM’s or other contact from a likely cyber bully.
- Talk – Spend time talking with your child regularly about cyber-bullying and other online dangers.
- Educate – Develop your technical skills so you better understand today’s technology, chat rooms, and social networks.
- Social Media – Create your own Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
- Monitor – Don’t feel like you’re invading your child’s privacy – Monitor what they are doing on the Internet and with their cell phones. It’s a parental responsibility to know what your child is doing.
- Privacy – Tell your child never to email, IM, chat or post negative information about others.
- Internet Safety – Set clear rules about Internet use. Tell your child to keep their email address, passwords, and personal information – including family information private.
- Encourage Communication – Let your child know to come to you if they feel they are a victim of cyber bullying or any cyber harassment.
- State Laws – Check into what the laws in your state are about cyber-bullying.
- Have a Plan – Prepare an action plan to initiate should your child become a victim of cyber bullying. Collect evidence, authorities to contact school and police, and change your child’s email and phone contact information.
- Block Contact – If your child is being bullied – contact your cell and Internet Service provider (ISP) and block all email and phone numbers from the bully.
- Automate Your Monitoring – Use the FREE Google Alerts to manage, monitor and automatically send you updates via email on any search term (your child’s name), at any chosen interval, including filtering alerts for video content.
- Research – Search your child’s name and similar spellings of it on Google and other major search engines. Look in video sharing sites like YouTube, MySpace, etc. and Facebook and other social networking sites.
- Change – Change your child’s email address and get a new cell phone number – AND – keep both private.
- Save Information – Tell your child the importance of bring this to your attention and to save anything received, photos, emails, chat conversations, etc., that is harmful, threatening, hateful, or otherwise discomforting. This is evidence that can be used if the situation escalates.