Are you keeping an eye on your child's online activities?
At this day and age where kids spend hours and hours online, cyberbullying is something all parents should be wary of. Do you know what cyberbulling is and its different types that exist online? Do you know how to protect your child from cyberbullying? This article concentrates on cyberbullying, how to stop cyberbullying and more.
Usually cyberbullying is the term which is associated with kids and teenagers. When adults go through problems online, it is called cyberstalking or cyber harassment. A really depressing cyberbullying case would be that of a 13-year-old named Megan Meier who hanged herself after consistent bullying online [link].
What exactly is cyberbullying? Do you know the different types of cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying happens when your child is getting abused online through websites, mails and even via cell phones. This form of bullying can affect your kid more as opposed to physical or verbal bullying at school considering the fact that these bullies can follow your kids around wherever they go all thanks to the World Wide Web. Even if your kids want to avoid the situation, they really can’t.
Most children will remain silent about this type of bullying because they don’t want to be considered as weak or they are just too plain scared.
The different types of cyberbullying include :
1. Bullying through websites – This kind of bullying usually happens on social networking sites like Facebook or Orkut where bullies will publish online polls, messages or create hate groups degrading your kid.
2. Bullying through cell phone text messages – This happens when your kid gets thousands of text messages from a bully.
3. Bullying through impersonation – The bully will impersonate and then defame your kid online.
4. Bullying through email – Hundreds of junk mail (including porn related content) is sent to your kid’s email inbox.
5. Bullying through hacking accounts – Some bullies will try to hack into your kid’s accounts online and then try to defame your kid through impersonation or otherwise.
How Do You Know When Your Child Is Getting Bullied?
Things to watch out for -
1. If you kid immediately shuts down his/her computer or keeps their cell phone away when you enter.
2. If they go through mood swings and seem to be angry, sad or irritated all the time.
3. Change in eating habits.
4. Disinterest in almost everything.
These signs usually denote other forms of depression too, but when you see these very symptoms in your child you will know it’s time to do some serious talking!
How To Stop Cyberbullying - How To Prevent Cyberbullying
I have heard of kids never going to their parents when they have problems. Why does this happen? The main reason for this is because most parents tend to over-react to things and kids hate that. Be as friendly to your kid as possible so that they will come to you without any hesitation whatsoever when they have a problem. If your child finds it difficult to talk to you about their daily routines, then you will have to take more effort to get them to open up to you.
What can you as a parent do to prevent cyberbullying?
1. Talk to your child about cyberbullying. Chances are they still don’t know what it is all about yet. Once they get to know how bad it is, they will open up to you more freely.
2. If they are being cyberbullied, you have to tell your kids to take a stand and tell these bullies to stop. Mentioning guardians or any other authority will keep these bullies on their toes. Most of these bullies will be a kid or teenager themselves who do not like to bring their parents or teachers into the situation.
3. Tell your kid to block these bullies completely from their chat, emai ID and other such online media.
4. Advise your kid to be friendly to others. Sometimes a kid gets bullied just because they haven’t been acting ‘nice’ with others.
5. It’s very important to make your child understand that participating in a hate group or forwarding mean messages to others is not the way to be! Tell them to take a stand when they see their friends being bullied too – to tell these bullies that what they are doing is ‘not cool’.
6. If the cyberbullying goes into extremes of death threats then make sure that your child doesn’t delete those specific messages. Such evidence helps in tracking out who the culprit is if they are unknown.
7. There are tools online that helps parents to keep track of their kid’s activities online. By keeping a close eye on your children’s activities online you can make sure that they remain safe and protected on the World Wide Web.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2010 Kalpana Iyer
HealthyHanna from Utah on October 20, 2010:
This is a terrible problem. We all need to be aware of it and not let it happen from our homes. With that being said, in today's world, it is hard to control our children's online activities. Be proactive and teach consideration for others by example as well as straight talk. My heart goes out to anyone victim to this terrible crime. And it is a crime and should be punished.
Judge Tom on June 17, 2010:
Thanks for mentioning "Teen Cyberbullying Investigated." Our intent is to educate teens about their rights and responsibilities in the digital age. They can learn from the experiences of their peers. Many have gotten into trouble over their online and cell phone activities [email, blogs, sexting, Facebook, etc]. Bottom line: Think B4 U Click. Regards, Judge Tom.