If your kid has a smartphone and uses it to communicate with friends via social media, you might have heard about cyberbullying. On the surface, online bullying is when some children find comfort in offending others on the Internet. The Cyberbullying Research Center identifies this phenomenon as follows:
“Cyberbullying is when someone repeatedly threatens, harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person (on purpose) online or while using cell phones or other electronic devices.”
As more kids get access to gadgets and free access to the Internet, cyberbullying is a growing problem in 2021. According to Broadband Search, about 73% of students interviewed for a survey on this issue were cyberbullied at least once in their lives. About 45% of them claimed it to happen in the last 30 days.
As you see, the numbers are frustrating. Although cyberbullying can lead to mental disorders (such as depression) or even suicide, there is no federal law against it. That’s why you need to know how to protect your kid from online harassment. In this article, we share 10 tips for kids and parents on the prevention of cyberbullying.
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5 Tips for Kids to Prevent Cyberbullying
If you’re a child who experiences online bullying or a friend of a bullied kid, here are some tips for you to help prevent this destructive act of aggression.
1. Avoid responding to harassments
People who find comfort in hurting others get their satisfaction when you react to their offenses. It does not matter what exactly you say in response, as their main goal is to make you react and mock all your words. If you stop responding to harassment, a bully is likely to lose interest and leave you alone. Whatever aggressive message you receive online, don’t react, and immediately inform a family member about it.
2. Save evidence
If ignoring cyberbullies doesn’t help, and they keep on sending threats, you need to tell adults about it. When someone sends you harassing private messages or makes offensive comments on your social media posts, take a screenshot or save the message. You should also make note of any identifiable account details of the person sending you threats because parents and teachers deserve to know.
3. Block bullies
Sometimes the best solution to a problem is to limit communication with the offender. After gathering and saving all the evidence, immediately block the bully. Restrict them from commenting on your social media posts, block them in your phone’s contact list, and block their address in your email contacts. You can decide who can see your profile and send you private messages, so take advantage and protect yourself from bullies.
4. Inform your teacher
Whatever bullies send you online, don’t be afraid to tell your teacher. It’s impossible to resolve a problem if no one knows about it. Although cyberbullies can harass and threaten to hurt you if you rat them out, don’t keep it secret. If you are afraid to inform your teacher about cyberbullying, ask your parents or friends to do it.
5. Spend more time with your real friends
Watching videos posted by your Instagram or Facebook friends can be fascinating and cool. However, try to spend more time with your real friends. It’s ok if you go for a walk or play a video game together instead of exhibiting your life on social media. Spend a couple of days without accessing social apps, and you’ll see that real life is exciting, too.
5 Ways for Parents to Stop Cyberbullying
As a parent, you can help kids avoid online bullying and teach bullies to stop harassing other children.
1. Discuss cyberbullying with your kid
When you give your kid a smartphone, discuss cyberbullying with them. If your child is bullied at school, other kids are likely to bully them online, too. Your goal is to explain to your child that it’s not their fault if peers cyberbully them. And if your kid tends to bully others, you need to tell them that bullying is wrong, no matter what. Start with a simple conversation about cyberbullying and explain its possible outcomes. Your child should always feel free to talk to you about their problems.
2. Teach your kid online privacy
One of the reasons some kids get into trouble after befriending someone on the web is the lack of cybersecurity knowledge. Before giving your kid a smartphone, teach them not to share their logins, emails, and passwords with others, even with friends. Explain that sharing details of their private life online can be dangerous, as bullies can make fun of them.
3. Talk to school administrators
Every school in the U.S has a strict policy of dealing with bullying. So, if a problem arises, you should feel comfortable raising the issue with a school administrator. Reach out to the principal or dean and provide him or her with evidence. You can also team up with other parents whose kids are cyberbullied and arrange an anti-bullying campaign at school.
4. Encourage your kids to spend more time outdoors
“Out of sight, out of mind” isn’t just a famous proverb. It’s a good mantra for dealing with cyberbullying, too. It means that if a person doesn’t see something or someone for a long time, they stop thinking about that person or thing. If you encourage your kid to spend less time on social media, they are likely to distract from what bullies comment on the web. Outdoor activities and sports make kids happier and offer a much-needed break from social apps.
5. Use a parental control app
One of the most efficient ways to prevent cyberbullying is to install a parental control app, such as mSpy, on your kid’s phone. With the help of this monitoring software, you can track your child’s online activity, detect bullies and predators, and prevent your kids from communicating with them.
You can block suspicious contacts in your kid’s phone book, restrict accessing particular apps, monitor calls and messages, and track their location using GPS. You can also see multimedia files that bullies send to your kid and use them as evidence when reporting cyberbullying. Another handy feature of mSpy is a keylogger that makes it possible to match passwords to accounts on dangerous web resources. Finally, you can set triggering words and get notifications when your kid receives or sends a message containing these words.
Cyberbullying is a growing problem that should be taken seriously not only by kids and parents but to resolve itself. Being bullied is extremely stressful for kids and can lead to sad consequences. Show your kid that they can always talk to you. And go one step further. Enhance their online safety by monitoring their online activity with mSpy.