The Internet is a fantastic source of browsing & sharing information, learning, shopping, performing mobile banking or staying connected with each other. But simultaneously, it provides new ways to harass/torment each other. This malicious activity is known as cyberbullying and affects people of all ages in online communities, especially teens or school/college students. Many parents wonder how to prevent cyberbullying.
Most teenagers suffer from cyberbullying and don’t report these incidents. Research shows that one in five teens has been cyberbullied, while 59% have been harassed online. No wonder cyberbullying is a growing social concern. But fortunately, there are ways to prevent cyberbullying. Keep reading to know but first, know what cyberbullying exactly is.
Also Read - Internet Safety for Kids: Things to Keep in Mind
Cyberbullying is simply bullying or harassing a person online by using technology. This occurs on social media, email, forums or gaming, where kids can participate in or share content. It can also occur through text messages via cell phone. These messages may contain abusive language or threatening.
Cyberbullying includes sending, posting or sharing negative, harmful, wrong or mean content about an individual to harass him/her. It can be any personal or private information about someone that might cause embarrassment or humiliation to a specific person.
Sharing, sending or forwarding mean texts to/about someone
Hacking a person’s account, gaming or social media profile
Spreading rumours or wrong information about a person
Being rude or mean to someone in online gaming
Pretending to be someone else to hurt a person’s social status etc.
Keep in mind that cyberbullying can cause more than a person’s reputation. The victim can suffer depression and anxiety, which may lead to suicide, especially teenagers. It is very important for parents to know how to prevent cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is making headlines today in countries around the world. Below are a few cyberbullying statistics that show the seriousness of the issue and the requirement for an effective solution.
65% of the young adults accepted to be suffered from online bullying
70% have witnessed cyberbullying
Over 40% accept that they have become a bullying target
50% of children are scared of online bullying
92% of cyberbullying attacks take place through chatting & commenting on social media websites
The victims of cyberbullying tend to commit suicide 3 to 9 times
Only 2 in 10 victims are likely to notify their parents or teachers about online attacks.
To keep the increasing online presence of teens for school/college projects, teens & parents should take necessary precautions while browsing online. Though there is no foolproof way or strategy to prevent children from being bullied, there are a few cyberbullying safety tips that can help reduce the risks. Here they are as follows:
Every parent should teach their children to use strong passwords whenever they go online or make any new account to prevent cyberbullying or similar behaviours like catfishing. Maintaining strong passwords is one of the best ways to prevent cyberbullying.
Cyber attackers can hack your account & use your confidential information to hurt you. This is why it is important to take precautions while setting your passwords. Think about a password that is difficult to guess and keep separate passwords for separate accounts.
One of the best tips on how to prevent cyberbullying is to adjust your privacy settings. No matter which platform your teen is using online, you should always keep all the privacy settings & tools turned offered by a platform. For example, Zoom, Google Meet, Twitter, Online chat rooms, etc.
Go through each account of your children and make them aware of their privacy settings, such as making profile photos private, preventing people from tagging, blocking requests from strangers etc.
Children/teens make accounts on different platforms for school or college projects. Being a parent, it is important to teach them not to share personal information like Phone number, Address, school or home location etc. Tell them the stuff they can share & cannot, especially if they have friends or followers online. It is the best solution for cyberbullying prevention for kids.
A few smartphones allow users to share their location with their friends. It means people outside already know where you are now. It is important for parents to inform their kids about the threats & consequences of sharing location with unknown friends. Have a discussion with your child and tell them whom they can share the location with.
It is quite common for teenagers today to post everything they do online. Be it their photos, watching a film in a theatre, checking in to a mall, going out of the city/town, etc. It can be an important bite for hackers & cyber attackers. Cyberbullies may use the information posted by teens and use it against them. So, it is recommended to teach them how to prevent cyberbullying and think twice before posting anything online.
6. Audit Social Media Accounts
It is important for the parents to sit with the child and review all the accounts they maintain online. Determine what posts need to be deleted or check their friend list. Teach them not to be friends with unknown persons or connect with them in any way.
If you want help with cyberbullying for your kids, tell them to refuse to give any response to cyberbullies & inform parents about it to take legal action against them. It means they shouldn’t argue, question or engage in any suspicious activity. Capture the screenshots of harassing chats and submit them to the cyber investigation department. It is important to report cyberbullying.
Most cyberbullying acts come from social media platforms like chatting or commenting. It makes cyberbullying and social media strongly connected with each other. It often occurs as hate accounts, mean social media posts, wrong rumours online or hurtful comments.
Research indicates that cyberbullied people suffer from depression and anxiety emotionally, physically, mentally and academically. It can result in feeling hurt, distressed, or sometimes even suicide. Therefore, it is important for parents to teach kids how to prevent cyberbullying.
These are some of the best cyber bullying safety tips every parent must consider to protect their child from the dangers of the online world. Remember, it is never too late to teach kids about online threats and apply these strategies to prevent cyberbullying.
1. Am I being bullied online? How do I know the difference between a joke and bullying?
It is normal to have fun with friends, but sometimes, it is hard to tell if someone is just having fun with you or trying to hurt you. If you feel hurt, distressed or embarrassed by someone’s joke, it could be bullying.
2. Who should I talk to if someone is bullying me online? Why is reporting important?
The first step is to seek help from someone you trust, like your parents, close friends, or relatives. And if you aren’t comfortable, search for a helpline in your country.
3. How do I prevent my personal information from being used to manipulate or humiliate me on social media?
Always think twice before posting your personal information online. Adjust the privacy settings of all your online accounts.