By BERN MORLEY.
It’s a brave new world we find ourselves in as parents isn’t it? I’m talking about the cyber world. When I was a kid, bullying consisted of school yard fights and being locked out of the hall by the mean girls at lunch time.
Now there is this whole new world where our children are living out a large majority of their lives online. It’s constant, 24/7 and it involves Facebook, email, mobile phones, text messages, twitter, Instagram, the list goes on. But what makes it cyber bulling?
And how do we prevent our own children from not only being the victims, but also prevent them from being the unwitting perpetrators?= display_ad('x18', 'hidden-xs hidden-md mm_incontent', 'MM In Content'); ?>= display_ad('x20', 'visible-xs mm_mob_incontent', 'MM In Content (Mobile)'); ?>
Cyber bullying is any kind of bullying or harassment that uses technology. This can be of the emotional, written and verbal variety, same as regular bullying. It’s not always blatant bullying, it can be as simple as being excluded i.e. being blocked, unfriended or even an obvious invite omission.
There have been some terrible and unfortunately catastrophic consequences where teens have been cyber bullied and I am constantly aware, as a parent of a new teen, to keep an ever watchful eye out for this.
So what can you do?
1. Make sure the computer they use can be seen or is in a public space. As tempting as it is to allow them take the laptop off to their bedroom so they can “do their homework” whatever it is they need to do can be done in a public space, not in private. Until they can pay for their own wi-fi, they will have to understand that you own the password and therefore, if they don’t like it, you can simply turn it off.
2. Become familiar with their world. I’m not saying you need to start yelling YOLO to your child as they walk through the school gates of a morning (Please don’t do this), I just mean that you should know what it is that your children are using on a daily basis. Learn about Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram (don’t worry too much about Google +). You don’t have to use them yourself or even like them, but at least understand their purpose and in turn, stay relevant.
3. Limit the time they are allowed on the devices. Understandably, this won’t be so easy on their mobile phone but at night, the computer shouldn’t be a portal to constant interaction. It should be used first and foremost to complete their homework. Then, sure, an hour should be allowed and allocated for social interaction. If this isn’t stipulated and controlled, believe me, your teenager will be on there until you physically pull the plug around midnight.
4. Keep the lines of Communication Open.Help them to understand the distress that cyber bullying causes by showing them how they’d feel to experience it. The old saying “You can’t really know a man until you walk a mile in his shoes” has never been more apt than in this situation. It is so easy to forget how something might make us personally feel when it’s not directly happening to us, so point it out, gently, to your son or daughter, how it may feel for example, to be left out or to be talked about negatively in a public forum.
The above are my suggestions on how to prevent your child from being cyber bullied. ASG however have created the “Help protect your family from bullying” special report
They created the special report after 60% of member participants advised that they would not be able to help their child if their child experienced an incident of bullying or would require assistance to do so.
Each day in Australia 100,000 children and young people report they experience the devastating and damaging effects of bullying.
Bullying damages the wellbeing of its victims physically, socially, and emotionally. It also hurts the children who bully, as well as those who watch it happen. Bullying creates a climate of fear and disrespect for everyone involved.
Written by educational expert and social-emotional wellbeing trainer, Ann-Maree Kelly, ASG’s special report: Help protect your family from bullying will provide you with information to understand bullying – its signs and affects, and practical ideas of how to deal with bullying from a number of perspectives in a short, quick-read guide. The special report also details valuable resources for additional information.
Help protect your family from bullying is an important resource if you’re a parent who wants to learn more about how you can protect your children from bullying. Download the special report below.
This is a new digital age, we are all learning as we go along. Let’s share our suggestions on how to keep this world safe for our children.
The Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) offers a proven and proactive way to help parents nurture and fund their children’s education. With a heritage of almost 40 years, ASG has helped more than 294,000 families and returned more than $1.6 billion in education benefits to Members and their children. ASG also offers a wide range of resources designed to help the many day-to-day challenges parents face in providing their children the best education possible. For more information visit their website or download your free copy of ASG free e-guide on “Protecting your family from cyberbullying”.
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Has your child ever been cyber bullied? How do you protect your kids online?