With the increase in technology, cyberbullying has also become quite common. According to stopbullying.gov, cyberbullying is the kind of bullying which occurs via electronic media for example on cell phones and computers. It may consist of hurtful texts and pictures being sent amongst a number of other things. Children are aware of this concept and now due to the efforts of schools, parents are as well.
Considering how painful it can be, an example can be taken of a 12 yr old in Florida who jumped to her death in 2013 because she had been cyberbullied by 2 other girls. Hence, while technology has a positive side to it, a negative side is also present. The statistics of cyberbullying have also been increasing at alarming rates.
According to www.dosomething.org which is a website for teenagers addressing social issues, almost 43% of all children have suffered from online bullying and 1 in 4 has had it happen to them more than once; also, 1 in every 10 victims informs an adult or a parent of what they have been through. The website also states that 2 in every 9 victims are likely to consider committing suicide.
Cyberbullies target their victims with emails, texts, and tweets. If the aim of the perpetrator is accurate and if the victim is struck a number of times either in a classroom or social setting, the effect can be terrible and hurtful.
How can parents prevent their children from being victims of cyberbullying, instigate it on their own or be a bystander to it? These tips can be considered:
Know the password and screen name for the electronic devices used by your child
Be aware of what your child writes on these devices; the family computer should also be monitored
Be aware of the terms used by the youth of today while they communicate with each other. There is a reason why children don’t wish to add their parents on their Facebook and Twitter accounts and it is because they want privacy
Take part in school and community functions regarding the discussion of cyber bullying. Speak to other parents, teachers and counselors if you feel that your child is involved in cyber bullying
Look out for signs which may suggest your child is suddenly anxious, withdrawn, scared or uninterested in school or his friends
Let your child know that he can trust you with information regarding cyber bullying and that you will keep his confidence as long as you feel he is not at risk
Let your child know that you will not punish him for being honest if he has been involved in some cyber bullying instance. Communication lines must be kept open so that everything can be spoken about
Keep a hold on your reaction if your child does tell you he is being bullied. Stay calm while you work out a plan for what must be done next
Explain to your child about the Florida incidence and share your concern that such a terrible incidence should never occur in your or any other family
Remind your child to treat others how he would like to be treated. This includes never doing or saying anything wrong about others either face to face or behind his back
Bullying is a concept which needs to be tackled by parents in a sensitive manner or else it could lead to even greater trouble. We’ve already discussed how to prevent cyberbullying in our previous article. Children need to be made aware of what bullying in general and ccyberbullying in particular, is so that they can recognize the signs if this occurs with them as well. They should be made aware that they should speak to an adult they trust or their parent and to let them know what has been going on. For a child to undergo such experiences on his own can be quite painful and difficult which is why he must confess to someone. Parents need to ensure that while they keep a check on their child to ensure their safety, they should also keep communication open and keep a relationship with their child which would allow them to approach the parent and speak their mind out.