Did you know that 65% of kids have experienced cyberbullying?
The scary thing about cyberbullying is that it can happen to anyone using social networking sites – for three main reasons:
◼️ Time spent on screens and social media has drastically increased – on average 7.5 hours a day
◼️ 56% of children are being exposed to so much online content, much of it inappropriate
◼️ Bullies take advantage of anonymity on social media platforms – 2020 alone saw almost 2 billion fake profiles on social media.
Our goal is to prevent your child from experiencing cyberbullying. After extensive research surrounding the causes, the symptoms and the antidotes, we’ve put together 5 Pillars of Cyberbullying Prevention for parents to easily implement in the fight against cyberbullying:
⭐Parental Control Apps
Follow these 5 steps to keep your children safe, and keep your mind at ease.
Are we aware of what’s going on around us?
There are some symptoms that kids display if they are experiencing cyberbullying – including:
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- An unexplained decline in school grades
- Refusal to go to school
- Signs of depression or sadness
- Angry or upset behavior after using their phone or being online
Often it’s a lack of communication that can cause the first warning signs to develop into something even more serious. How many kids approach a parent when something suspicious or hurtful is happening online? Would they confide in someone else, like a friend or teacher?
Communication and trust are your top tools to making sure your child feels they can approach you to talk about any worries.
Parents and children should both be aware of possible dangers.
The Parent: Educate yourself regarding the apps and platforms. How are they used? What are the dangers? Are there privacy controls?
Check out what safeguards are available on these sites: for example, Snapchat has changed it’s ‘Quick Add’ friends suggestion to make it impossible to add users under 18, unless there are a certain number of friends in common.
The Child: Speak to your children before they even begin to use social media and online chats. – it’s crucial that you explain to your child why they should be careful about what they post online. Have conversations with your child to discuss appropriate online etiquette, how we speak to others online, and what messages or images are appropriate to send.
Educational institutions should be clamping down before cyberbullying occurs.
We all need to work together – parents, teachers, guardians, governing bodies – to battle cyberbullying. Many countries around the world are now passing legislation to make cyberbullying illegal and encouraging social media platforms to impose more safeguards.
Without embarrassing or drawing drawing unwanted attention to your child, there are some tactful ways to get involved:
◼️ Speak to your child’s school and check what kind of workshops around this topic they may be running – do they discuss it during Circle Time?
◼️ Promote zero-tolerance policies for cyberbullying
◼️ Encourage early intervention in schools – there may be warning signs occurring in the classroom or the playground: tears, withdrawn behavior, kids refusal to join others at break etc.
◼️ Create a culture of responsibility – bystanding is not an option
If your child HAS been exposed to cyberbullying, they may be under a great deal of emotional strain. It’s difficult to watch your child hurting inside – and no one wants to think of their child as a bully either. You and your child both need support and guidance on what to do next.
How should you respond to a cyberbully? We know it’s easier said than done – but there are a few things you can do to stop cyberbullying in its tracks. First and foremost: your child should know that it’s not their fault – no one asks to be bullied, and no one deserves to be victimized. Together with your child, you can take some of these steps:
◼️ Block the contact
◼️ Report them to the platform moderator
◼️ Get outside help – speak to a family member, friend or teacher
◼️ Update privacy settings to a level where only people your child knows can interact with them
5) Parental Control Apps
One of the most significant steps you can take to prevent cyberbullying is to use a parental control app, as it can help you to understand what your child may be experiencing online. Studies have shown that cutting your child off from online activity completely is not the answer – social media, instant messaging and online gaming are some of the primary ways in which kids connect to others. Restricting technology or taking away their device only isolates them more, and is often a reason why kids won’t report cyberbullying.
Instead, using a parental control app can help you empower your child, and navigate online activity together, in a safe way.
Thousands of families are already using the FamilyKeeper parental control app every single day, to help their kids navigate the dangers of the online environment.
With FamilyKeeper, you can:
☑️ Receive notifications and real-time alerts if offensive language is used
☑️ Monitor photos and saved images on your child’s device
☑️ Track conversations and content across a range of social media platforms
☑️ Set screen time limitations
For further information, or to download the app, visit Google Play Store.
An earlier version of this article appeared in https://medium.com/reasonlabs