With the increase in the usage of technology, a monster by the name of cyber-bully has also emerged. Stopbullying.gov states cyber bullying to be the kind which is conducted through the use of computers and mobile phones. Text message and pictures which are hurtful are part of these tactics amongst others. However due to the efforts of schools, parents and the government, a number of children are now aware of this concept.
Just how harmful cyber bullying is can be judged from the fact that a 12 year old committed suicide in Florida in 2013 due to being cyber bullied by 2 other girls, aged 12 and 14. While technology is becoming modernized and easy to use, it has a deadly side to it as well with statistics on cyber-bullying showing increases.
According to a website dosomething.org which addresses social issues pertaining to teenagers, it was found that almost 43% of children have been bullied over the internet out of which 1 in 4 has experienced it more than once and 1 in 10 have informed an adult or parent of what they experienced. Statistics on the website also showed that 2 out of 9 children are likely to commit suicide as a result of being bullied online.
Victims are targeted through emails, texts, tweets and others through cyber bullying. If the method and aim of the perpetrator is on point, the victim who is vulnerable is likely to feel the pain and get hurt through these actions which can be of such an extent that it causes them to take their lives.
There are some steps which parents can take to prevent their child from experiencing cyber bullying or even prevent them from initiating such acts. The following are some tips which parents can make use of:
- You should be aware of the passwords and screen names your child has for all devices used
- You should know what your child writes on his electronic devices along with regularly monitoring his activities on the family computer
- Familiarize yourself with the terms the youth make use of today while communicating with each other
- Attend lectures at schools and any community functions related to the topic of cyber bullying as this will allow you to speak to other parents, teachers and counselors at the school regarding the matter
- Keep a lookout to see any sudden changes in your child particularly if he becomes fearful, anxious, uninterested or withdrawn from school and friends
- Allow your child to know that he can come up to you with anything regarding cyber bullying and that you will keep his confidence as long as it doesn’t pose any harm or risk to him or others
- Engage in open conversation with your child where he knows that if comes clean regarding his involvement in cyber bullying, he will not be punished. Conversations should be kept non threatening and careful to allow them to approach you
- Stay calm if your child decides to tell you he is being bullied or has bullied someone over the internet. Decide calmly what your next step would be
- Talk to your children about situations pertaining to cyber bullying that have happened in real life and explain to them how this should never happen to them or to their family
- Ingrain in your child that they must treat others how they would like to be treated. This includes never writing or saying anything about anyone which they would not feel comfortable saying face to face
While cyber bullying has increased with the increase in the use of technology, it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their children are kept safe from such instances and that they too do not engage in them. The tips mentioned above are some which can be helpful in avoiding dealing with your child being involved in such issues.