Parents are concerned mostly about the safety of their children from the moment of their birth and on through the lifetime, that is why they try to protect them from making critical decisions and doing unsafe things. As according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, the basic and fundamental one is to feel safe and stable to move to the next development stage.
The lack of experience, sheer of curiosity and unformed cognitive thinking patterns drive kids in the world of all unknown. If 10-15 years ago children’s social skills were developed on the yard with swings and hide and sick role play, nowadays their attention is drawn to the virtual social reality: computer games, chatting in social networks or swiping left or right to express their interest. In which case would you worry more about your kid?
According to the recent researches, there are lots of perils in the online world and cyberbullying is one of the most common. The frustrating fact is that 1 out of 3 children has been exposed to cyberbullying.
Let’s consider why and look closer at following tips every parent must know to protect and prevent their children from getting into trouble.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Bullying is aggressive behavior among people, which is led by power imbalance and lasts long, causing mental issues in minds. It arises because of different triggers: social and mental differences, behavior and communication. But as our communication shifted to the digital world, our kids encountered cyberbullying. The core sense hasn’t changed much but just moved to the virtuality and usage of the technologies to threaten and embarrass another person.
The First Brick of the Safety Basement Is Communication
Lack of communication is the main reason for all misunderstandings and the fracture in relationships.
Parents’ mission is not only to provide their kids with everything for a comfortable life (material things) but to be in touch with children, share their world, have common interests and support them. Communication and trust are the main ingredients for healthy and strong relationships with kids. You will need to make efforts to nurture those relationships but never regret or neglect the time spent with them.
It is important to start building trust from the early ages by letting them make their own decisions and treating children as equals. They will be safe not when they are protected but when they are aware of the danger and know how to deal with it. Talk with children about the “cyberbullying” before they face it, so they are not embarrassed and bewildered in case they have to deal with it. When you share your kid’s world, you will be the first one to know about occurring situations with cyberbullying and will help them to stop it.
Share Kids’ Online Environment
We can consider virtuality as some temporal fun but we will be completely wrong here, as it has already become someone’s real world.
Nowadays, 70% of our social life is connected to networks and online communication. Children create their profiles as soon as they get the first smartphone, computer or laptop. Despite communication, they become vulnerable to cyberbullying. Don’t ask them to delete the account, you will deprive their social choice and trust. You need also to register yourself or ask someone of your friends and colleagues to follow your kid in any social network. Try not to make it a supervising act, but as a desire to be digitally and trendy savvy. Ask them for advice to help you fill in your profile or help them if they come to you first. Look through the list of top communicating apps and learn how they operate, such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook or even some dating apps like Tinder. Please, do not try to invade their world, but share it and be always closer.
Privacy Is Supposed to Be Private
It takes years to build a reputation and minutes to ruin, think twice before making significant decisions.
You need to help your kids realize that it is not relevant and safe to reveal everything about your life to publicity because some facts can be triggering for cyber bullies and misinterpreted or used against children. Less information we provide is better for us. Discuss with them what is suitable or not to be posted. Help them set some privacy settings. Reputation builds our social appearance and environment we live in and it is so difficult to regain it back.
Learn How to Identify Fake Accounts
Annually millions of fake accounts are reported and deleted from Facebook and other social networks.
Cyberbullies may not even be real, such people create fake accounts and pretend to behave as they want. Inappropriate messages or pictures, suggestions are the way to please their ego, attempt to manipulate and show their control over others. Whatever seems to be fun from the first sight can turn upside down to cyberbullying. The most important here is as you confront such messages, stay away from someone you suspect not to be real.
You Can Check the Bully
Those who know how to operate facts, run the case and direct to the needed way.
Nevertheless, this digital world can be considered as the unsafe place, it also provides us with lots of opportunities to run some research on the cyberbully. There is no need to call the police or 911. You can run your own simple investigation just with phone number lookup. All possible information about the owner of the number and all profiles or mentions will be pulled to you from the web sources. You will be able to look over and shape mental portrait or even get in touch to identify the person.
There Is Always a Way to Block
There is always a way to get out of some difficult situation, even if it seems like a dead end, just look at it from the opposite angle.
Every single smartphone or a social app itself have block settings and when there are signs of cyberbullying or your child just feels discomfort in communication, you can block the number or profile. Bullies like attention and enjoy the feeling of fear their victims experience. If there is any reaction, they step away and lose the interest.
You Can Run an Invisible Parental Control
Technologies have advanced to be our great assistants, not only enemies.
Parental Control gives you a possibility to be notified when your kid wants to download something. You will be the one who makes this final decision whether to download it or not. You can set it to specific preferences so they won’t even know about your approval. Also, you will be able to see what are they searching for and interested in. The most important here not to become obsessed with control, as it was mentioned earlier, trust and communication are keys to healthy relationships with your kids.
Keep the Evidence
It never stops, until you stop it.
It is difficult to predict and identify that something will be wrong from the first sight. As you blocked the cyberbully, it seems you protected your kid but unfortunately not fully. They can use another number or account to get in touch. Always keep the evidence and reveal it to the parents of other kid or teacher in a personal conversation. If it was an adult, it can be the evidence to prove the guilt and apply legal charges.
Lots of social factors influence our kids while they grow up. They want to be better and special. And our world is flourishing with such temptations. Often when watching someone else’s photos in the tape, the children want to be at least a bit similar or the same with them, that’s where the problems begin. It’s enough just to explain to your child that he needs to be individual.
Try to explain to your kid that being yourself is much more pleasant than pretending just to get a virtual fame. Nevertheless, nowadays we live being connected online, personal meetings and talks in the cafeteria or park are more pleasant and remarkable. Our online safety starts with us.