How to Help Your Kids Prevent Cyberbullying in Today’s World
In the wake of World Bullying Prevention Month, cyberbullying awareness has impacted even more on the international consciousness. With the number of young people engaging in social media constantly increasing, it is important to teach the younger generation, as well as their parents and teachers, how to approach cyberbullying properly.
Part of the problem when discussing cyberbullying with youngsters is that it may be difficult to define – for some, the lines between what is acceptable and what isn’t can become blurred. We need to be extremely conscious of what we post online or send in instant messaging – especially when it can often be difficult to read between the lines, and intonation and inflection can be misinterpreted.
The United States official anti-bullying website defines cyberbullying as:
‘… bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation.’
Additionally, although many people may be unaware of this, cyberbullying also has the potential to cross the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.
When discussing cyberbullying with your children, it’s hugely important to keep the lines of communication open. The more confident youngsters feel in discussing their online activity, the more autonomy it will give them in terms of pushing back against cyberbullies.
Last fortnight, at the the World Anti-Bullying Forum held in Stockholm, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant revealed that in Australia, research showed that 64% of young people who have experienced negative online behavior are taking proactive measures to block or unfriend people who had bullied them online – a significant increase from 46% of young people in 2017.
Teaching students to have the wherewithal to be able to block, unfriend or report cyberbullying behavior is a good first step for youngsters to be able to safely navigate social media, and to feel more empowered in their online experiences.
Using a parental control app such as FamilyKeeper can help both kids and parents to become aware of what is happening in their child’s social media career. Parents and children can discuss together: What is inappropriate content? Which words are offensive? Which sites should be avoided? Which apps can we block? Is this user or contact having a negative effect on me?
Thankfully, recent cyberbullying campaigns seem to be paying off, with many countries joining in the international war to combat this form of abuse. On November 4th, Morocco, France, Mexico and UNESCO signed a new declaration to address school bullying and cyberbullying, the “Campeche Declaration against Violence and Bullying at School, including Cyberbullying”, which aims to eradicate bullying from educational institutions by 2027.
What part can I play?
☑️ Downloading and using a parental control app, such as FamilyKeeper, is the first step in keeping your family safe from cyberbullying.
☑️ FamilyKeeper alerts parents when suspicious behaviour occurs, aiding in cyberbullying prevention.
☑️ Setting parameters: FamilyKeeper allows you to decide which social media apps or online sites can be accessed from your child’s device.
☑️ Setting a digital schedule: Don’t let digital devices overrun your family life – setting a schedule can help ensure children still have time for after-school activities, homework and quality time with family, helping to limit the opportunity for cyberbullying activity to occur.
Thursday, November 1st was UNICEF’s International Day Against Violence and Bullying. Their Celebrity Advocate, the influential Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurana, has been praised by the parenting community for his active call to condemn all forms of bullying:
‘As parents, teachers and family members, it’s our collective responsibility to ensure that all children are aware of how to stay safe online, to create a safe space where children who experience online violence do not hesitate to seek help. Together, let us make the internet a safer place.’
One can only wholeheartedly agree with this goal, and share in this vision.