Children are essentially required to carry a mobile device and access the web today for everything from socializing to doing school work, but where there are kids, there will be bullying. There have been countless stories in the news lately where cyber bullying has caused problems in schools, families and the personal lives of countless children. Unfortunately, it is still a threat which many parents are simply overlooking. When granting kids mobile and internet privileges, it is important to follow these five tips for keeping kids safe from cyber bullies.
1. Acknowledge the Problem– Parents need to be outspoken about the fact that they are aware of the fact that cyber bullying is out there. Letting kids know that they have an advocate in their parents may help them feel more comfortable about it. Even when kids don’t want to talk to their parents directly about their experiences with cyber bullying, they can be comforted by the fact that their parents know about it and are taking a stand against it.
2. Watch for Symptoms– Parents often suspect that something is bothering their child, but don’t think to look online for the cause of the problem. When children are bullied either in person or online they often become shy and less willing to talk about the problems. They can also become depressed and avoid their friends or other things they previously enjoyed doing. Don’t ignore these warning signs. Start investigating the cause and if it is cyber bullying, take proactive steps to stop the bullying and help the victim(s) recover.
3. Don’t Forget About Mobile– Even as parents keep a close eye on the Internet activity of children on the family computer, they tend to pay very little attention to mobile devices. This negligence may result in kids living in fear as they keeping on receiving intimidating and insulting text messages. To stop such a thing from happening right under their noses, parents must install a text message tracker on kids’ mobile device. This makes it possible to keep an eye on all SMS interactions, along with the name or contact number of sender or receiver, and the time and date at which the text messages were sent or received. Installing such kind of apps is essential to protect children from cyber bully attacks on their mobile devices.
4. Know Where Bullies Are– Cyber bullies have many different avenues available to them because of the fact that the Internet is such a large place. Watching e-mail or social media is a great start, but it is not enough. Texting and other forms of digital communication also provide access to the victims and need to be monitored closely.
5. Understand the Bully– Recent studies have shown that over half of all cyber bullies have also been bullied themselves. Cyber bullies could be anyone so don’t automatically look for a bigger kid or one who normally gets in trouble in class. Parents should also keep an eye on their own children to ensure they are not doing any bullying of their own.
Cyber bullying is a serious threat to the physical and psychological well-being of children today. Unfortunately many parents think it isn’t something to be concerned with and blow it off as kids acting like kids. Following the above tips, and keeping a close eye on children while online is an essential component of Internet safety.