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How to protect your kids from cyberbullying

For some, kids, going to class can be a serious upsetting encounter. Frequently, kids need to manage numerous prevailing burdens and friend issues, one of which is tormenting. Presently with PCs and new innovation, this part of school can follow kids to their own personal homes and keep on damaging them, long in the wake of leaving the school grounds. This new type of tormenting is called cyberbullying and it is an always developing worry for youngsters nowadays.

Bill Belsey, the designer of one of the Internet’s most visited harassing sites offers this meaning of digital tormenting;

“Cyberbullying includes the utilization of data and correspondence innovations to help conscious, rehashed, and threatening conduct by an individual or gathering, that is expected to hurt others.”

Cyberbullying is regularly directed using email programs, texting administrations, visit rooms, and open conversation gatherings and typically incorporates open dangers, hostile and revolting language, oppressive discourse, wrong pictures, pantomime, and even disdain and racial slurs. Guardians should be watching out for this new type of tormenting and should screen for it at home.

The enormous concern when harassing goes online is that your kid is presented to a lot greater gathering of likely domineering jerks. The capacity for a domineering jerk to focus on a kid and make a crowd mindset among other Internet clients is very enormous. At the point when youngsters are on the web, they frequently feel like they are nondescript and can do and making statements they never could in a customary social circumstance. Frequently, kids taking an interest in cyberbullying scarcely even realize the kid being harassed, and here and there, don’t have any acquaintance with them by any means.

The potential for a web based tormenting circumstance to gain out power is very clear so the best guard is to be proactive with regards to your youngster and their utilization of the Internet. The following is a rundown of five top tips to continue in your endeavors to forestall and moderate the impacts of cyberbullying.

  1. Constantly Speak to Your Child

By keeping a transparent line of correspondence with your kid, you’ll be substantially more fit for seeing inconspicuous changes in their conduct. On the off chance that your kid abruptly goes from being vigorous and merry to peaceful and thoughtful, there is presumably something out of order.

  1. Keep Records and Printouts of any Inappropriate Material Received

While it might appear to be odd to clutch substance of any unseemly and tacky kind, you may really require duplicates of this material if your kid experiences cyberbullying. Also, your PC will contain significant data that could be of crucial use to law authorization if things get to this stage.

  1. Illuminate Your Child regarding Ways to Handle a Cyber-menace.

The best thing a youngster can do is to attempt to subdue a future domineering jerk by not reacting to their incitements. Reacting to any assaults will just aim further difficulty. In the event that this comes up short and your kid feels like they’re actually being harassed on the web, ensure they know to examine the circumstance with you. With your insight into the occasions, you’ll have the option to contact the ideal individuals, be it school guides, directors, instructors, or guardians to stop the circumstance. On the off chance that your kid doesn’t have the foggiest idea about the harasser, you may have to take things to the following level and contact the neighborhood police.

  1. Educate Law Enforcement

In the event that the cyberbullying gets forceful and tenacious or includes profoundly improper material, you ought to most likely contact your nearby police division. This is particularly evident if your youngster doesn’t have the foggiest idea about the domineering jerk. The police will have the option to find the guilty party by utilizing exceptional apparatuses and advancements available to them.

  1. Ensure Your Child Doesn’t Take Part in Bullying Others

This is a significant exercise to impart in your kid. This is significantly more significant if your kid has experienced cyberbullying them self. Numerous youngsters imagine that being mean and tearing down others while online is by one way or another less critical than when face to face. The thing your youngster needs to recall is that there is consistently a casualty on the opposite end. Nobody likes to feel disparaged and deprecated. Your youngster can become familiar with a significant exercise and settle on a cognizant decision to be over these activities. In the event that your kid is solid willed, their companions and friends may understand exactly how terrible cyberbullying can be. Ensure that your youngster knows about the effect their activities can have on others just as the repercussions that would go with being found directing cyberbullying themselves.

Harassing has taken on another and offensive structure as innovation turns out to be more refined. Cyberbullying is currently an unmistakable risk to kids nowadays however by engaging your kid with the suitable information and good strength, you’ll have the option to help forestall or beat the potential impacts that this new tormenting can cause.

Recognizing warning signs and documenting the bullying may help, experts say.

How to protect your kids from cyberbullying

By Misha Valencia

  • Sept. 5, 2019

The bullying started with some teasing and mean comments, but escalated significantly when Mallory Grossman, 12, a cheerleader and gymnast from New Jersey, began middle school. It spread to social media where a group of children tormented her.

They took pictures of Mallory at school, without her knowledge, posted them online and taunted her with text messages containing screenshots of the vicious comments made about her. “They called her horrible names, told her you have no friends and said, when are you going to kill yourself,” said her mother, Dianne Grossman.

Ms. Grossman frequently reported the bullying to the school, but the harassment continued. She said that by the time she found out about the full scope of the cyberbullying, it was too late. Mallory died by suicide on June 14, 2017.

“The vicious things Mallory’s peers said about her became her reality,” her mother said. “No matter how untrue they were, she started believing it. Words matter — they have the ability to cause significant harm.”

Ms. Grossman is working to pass Mallory’s Law in New Jersey — a bill that would create more accountability in how schools in the state respond to bullying.

A report last year from the Pew Research Center found that 59 percent of teens said they had been bullied or harassed online — and that many of them think teachers, social media companies and politicians are failing to help.

Cyberbullying includes tactics like posting vicious comments (including text messages), spreading rumors, making threats, telling people to kill themselves, impersonating someone through a fake account and creating a social media account to harass someone.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that any type of bullying increases a child’s risk for anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, academic problems, and there’s a significant connection between bullying and suicide-related behaviors.

“Bullied children experience shame and humiliation. When they see others ridiculing them online they worry who else saw it, shared it — how far their image traveled,” said Mildred Peyton, a bullying expert in Maryland.

But the impact of cyberbullying is often minimized because of the notion that there is no physical threat — the bully is not there and targeted children could just avoid going online. However, experts say that the children eventually feel the real-life impact when online pictures and rumors about them spread through their schools.

“People are emboldened behind a computer screen and things can escalate very quickly, often turning into a mob of children making cruel comments,” Dr. Peyton said. “Victims can’t get a break from the harassment since the bullies can access the internet anytime. Even if a child isn’t online, pictures of them can still be circulated by their peers — and they are humiliated in school when they find out.”

She added: “Children being bullied need help — and oftentimes so do the bullies — their behavior is often indicative of instability in their own lives.”

A 2016 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reports that bullying is a “significant public health problem” with long-term negative effects.

“When cyberbullying began, many schools believed that since it was happening off school grounds they weren’t required to intervene or they didn’t have the legal authority to do so,” said Parry Aftab, a lawyer and cybercrimes expert. “Some schools were sued if they tried to take action,” she said.

While there has been something of a shift in thinking on how to address cyberbullying and some states have enacted stricter legislation targeting online bullying, it is still a pervasive problem, and states vary in their approaches to fighting it.

“Schools often still treat bullying as if it’s about conflict resolution,” Ms. Aftab said. “Parents can be seen as overprotective for being concerned — but bullying isn’t about peer conflict, it’s about a child intentionally being targeted and harassed.”

If there are no consequences for online harassment, Ms. Aftab said, “bullies are often emboldened and the behavior continues.”

Following are some steps experts suggest parents can take.

Recognize Warning Signs

Nearly 60 percent of kids don’t tell caregivers they’re being cyberbullied, making it critical to know the warning signs. These include:

Children appearing upset or mad when they’re online.

A significant increase or decrease in online activity.

Becoming withdrawn, anxious or avoiding social situations.

Turning off the computer or changing screens when an adult walks by.

Having difficulty concentrating.

Changes in grades or acting in uncharacteristic ways.

Monitor Online Activity

Regularly check children’s online presence and privacy settings on their social media accounts.

Document and Report

If someone harasses your child online, take screenshots of the comments. Include the website or app name in the image and a picture of the commenter’s profile.

If the cyberbullies attend your child’s school, report it to administrators and show them the images. Report harassment to the site or app where it happened and include that these are posts about a minor. Block bullies’ online accounts and phone numbers that send harassing texts.

If schools are unresponsive, Dr. Peyton recommends going up the chain of command to the superintendent. Caregivers can also contact their state’s department of education and familiarize themselves with local anti-bullying laws.

It’s also important to discuss with children what to do if they witness cyberbullying: Don’t participate in it, don’t share content and tell a trusted adult. Some experts recommend that peers post a positive comment when they see children attacked to offset the abuse.

If your child is physically threatened online, go to law enforcement. If it’s not taken seriously, Ms. Aftab recommends speaking to a detective, lieutenant or captain until someone listens.

Make a Plan

Discuss cyberbullying with children and explain that if it happens, it’s not their fault. Teach them not to ignore it (inform a trusted adult, take screenshots) and create a plan of action outlining what to do if they’re targeted.

Children may want to respond to cyberbullies and defend themselves. Discuss with children what, if any, response is warranted and ensure that they understand that any response can also circulate online.

If they experience bullying, the long-term impact can be significant. Ensure that children have support, including speaking to a therapist.

Turn to Resources

Children often feel ashamed over being bullied or fear that if their parents or caregivers get involved, the bullying may get worse. So it’s important for children to have many places to turn, such as the Crisis Text helpline and Stop It Now, which provide free 24-hour support to children.

For parents and caregivers who need support, resources are available through sites including No Bully, the Bully Project or the National Parent Helpline.

How to protect your kids from cyberbullying

As a new school year begins, many schools sadly will be setting out to tackle one of the most serious problems now spreading across classrooms: cyber-bullying. While new technologies have opened a whole new world of possibilities for children and adults alike, they have also opened the door to a new type of bullying, where bullies use phones and computers to send photos and threats to their victims.

Recent studies show that in fact, most bullying is now perpetrated online – according to Professor Jose Antonio Casa of the University of Cordoba , eight out of ten cases of school bullying are committed in this way. As such it is natural for parents to want to ensure that their children don’t suffer from this scourge, and fortunately, there are ways to fight back.

Firstly, there are some obvious key steps. Understanding what constitutes cyber-bullying by attending talks provided by schools is an initial step that parents can take in order to identify the threat and fight back.

It is also important to keep an eye out for possible changes in behavior that could indicate that something is amiss and of course, to let your children know that you are there to give them the support they need, especially if something happens to them.

In addition to these first steps (and others such as getting to know the language that young people use today), there are also technological solutions to help combat cyberbullying.

Use Parental Control tools

In general, it is practically essential to use parental control tools to protect your children. The reason is to be aware of what kids are writing on the devices they use and to monitor their activity on computers, tablets and smartphones. Whilst you can achieve this by literally looking over their shoulder, it is far easier to take a technological approach.

Panda Protection Service includes a range of tools to protect kids from cyber-bullying as well as the other threats they face on the Internet. In addition to blocking inappropriate content, the service lets users ensure that photos and other files remain private. Moreover, it doesn’t just monitor Web browsers on numerous devices (computers, tablets, smartphones…), it can also control the apps downloaded onto all mobile devices.

  • Parental Control
  • tips

Panda Security

Panda Security specializes in the development of endpoint security products and is part of the WatchGuard portfolio of IT security solutions. Initially focused on the development of antivirus software, the company has since expanded its line of business to advanced cyber-security services with technology for preventing cyber-crime.

Between the rise of connected devices and the ever-expanding Internet of Things, cyber bullying is a much bigger issue now than even a decade ago. Children and teens are spending more time online: 92 percent of kids are now on the Web daily, and nearly a quarter report being logged in “constantly.”

Sometimes, these numbers can add up to some devastating real-world consequences. Not only are these so-called “hyper-networking” teens sharing more personal information on their social media profiles, they also share a 110 percent higher risk of being cyber bullied compared to their peers. In the past year alone, one million children and teens were bullied just on Facebook, and 87 percent reported witnessing or experiencing risky behavior online. Today, cyber bullying has also been linked to a number of mental health concerns, including depression, drug use and suicide.

While it’s easy for parents to think about taking drastic measures in an effort to prevent the unthinkable, entirely cutting kids off from social media doesn’t prepare them for future adulthood. Instead of attempting to shield them from all online risks, we can use the popularity of social media as a tool for teaching healthy relationship and communication skills—both on the Web, and in person.

Below are ten suggestions for protecting your kids from cyber bullying’s damaging effects: before, during and after conflicts arise.

Before: Prevent and Prepare

1. Set healthy tech boundaries as early as possible.
Place appropriate restrictions and permissions on technology use as soon as children are able to access electronics. Setting reasonable limits early can prevent kids from becoming too attached to their computers and phones later on, and encourages them to develop a healthy sense of self apart from their digital identity. This makes it easier for children to disengage from risky or hurtful online communication as they age.

2. Provide an open channel of communication for your child.
Encourage your son or daughter to come to you with questions about his or her relationships at school and/or activity online. If they raise the issue of getting their own phone, computer or social media account, discuss the rights—and responsibilities—that come with that privilege. Together, you can create a “Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities” detailing what behavior your child can accept and display online.

3. Look for teachable moments—and be open to learning along with your kids.
When appropriate, discuss personal or national stories about cyber bullying, privacy, and other online risks with the whole family. Use these events as icebreakers for conversations about what is and isn’t okay online—and what you and your child can do during an unsafe situation. Ask how your child might respond to certain incidents, and invite feedback about how you can best help them with any issues online. Remember that both of your responses are likely to change as your kids age, so keep these dialogues ongoing.

4. Cultivate an environment of awareness and understanding around mental illness.
Children with depression, anxiety and other psychological conditions are often targets for bullies, and shame and secrecy can only make things worse. Fortunately, you can help de-stigmatize these illnesses in your own home by educating yourself and your kids about their causes and effects. Reinforce that mental illness is just like any other in that it revolves around physical changes – in this case, changes in brain chemistry. If your child or someone they know is struggling with mental illness, make sure they get the right help—and emphasize that their symptoms don’t make them a bad or flawed person. Modeling positive behavior can eliminate stigma where it most counts: your home.

During: Spot and Stop Cyber Bullying

5. Monitor for behavior changes.

Isolation, withdrawal, and aversion to activities or social situations your child previously enjoyed can all be red flags for cyber bullying. Unless it’s an extreme circumstance, though, it’s rarely advisable to betray your child’s trust by scrolling through their text messages or private communications without their knowledge. This can easily backfire and lead to even more secretive behavior.

6. Be aware of how much time your child is spending online, or with their personal devices.

If you spot an uptick in online activity, or note that your child seems increasingly or emotionally preoccupied with their phone or computer, it could be a warning sign. If you do need to check your child’s online account, but don’t have a prior agreement where your child knows you might do so, it’s usually best to discuss your concerns and plans with them beforehand (or immediately afterward, if the situation is truly urgent). Express why you feel or felt it was necessary to take action, and involve them in figuring out what to do next.

7. React calmly and compassionately.

If your child brings up an instance of cyber bullying or unsafe online activity, the first thing to do is to thank them for sharing their concerns with you. Then you can work together to decide how to move forward.

After: Help Your Child Cope and Communicate

8. Find the time to talk.

If you observe any behavioral or emotional changes, approach the subject during a low-stress, private setting when both you and your child have time and space to communicate freely. Try to keep things as non-dramatic and non-judgmental as possible. It can help to rehearse what you want to say to your child ahead of time.

9. Ask them what they want.

If your child is experiencing emotional distress because of a situation online, ask them about the outcome they’d like to see, and work together to brainstorm a solution.

10. Think about the bigger picture.

Consider helping to organize school-wide, student-led events and initiatives on cyber bullying, and discuss possible activities and events with school administrators. These initiatives can help build awareness and engage students in combatting social media risks in a proactive, positive way – without shining an unwanted spotlight on your child’s personal experiences.

As parents, it’s up to us to cultivate a sense of empowerment and confidence in our children, both online and off. The links below will direct you to some valuable resources that can help you build your awareness, start a conversation, get help, and take action.

Author

Assistant Professor, University of Guelph

Disclosure statement

Ryan Broll has received funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council and the Lupina Foundation.

Partners

University of Guelph provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation CA.

University of Guelph provides funding as a member of The Conversation CA-FR.

The Conversation UK receives funding from these organisations

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In a typical classroom of 25 to 30 students, eight to 10 children — a third of the class — have been cyberbullied at some point in their lifetime. About three or four students are likely to have bullied others online.

High-profile cases like those involving Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons, both of whom committed suicide after being bullied online, demonstrate how harmful this can be.

Research consistently finds that cyberbullying is associated with a number of social, emotional and academic problems. Young people who are involved in cyberbullying, either as offender or victim, are also more likely to think about and attempt suicide.

Compared to other forms of bullying, the “always on” and viral nature of cyberbullying may exacerbate these problems and a recent Canadian study suggests that the harmful impact of cyberbullying can persist into adulthood.

The days of viewing bullying as “kids being kids” are long gone. As former U.S. President Barack Obama declared at the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in 2011: “If there’s one goal of this conference, it’s to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. It’s not. Bullying can have destructive consequences for our young people.”

Annual events, like International Stand Up to Bullying Day on Feb. 23, 2018, and Pink Shirt Day on Feb. 28, 2018, help draw attention to cyberbullying and encourage action. But preventing cyberbullying is also a daily task that requires many people to work together.

As a researcher who studies cyberbullying, I have found that among parents, teachers and the police, parents have the most important role to play in prevention. Naturally, parents want to protect their children, and may wonder what they can do to prevent cyberbullying.

Fortunately, research suggests some practical steps that parents can take to reduce their child’s risk:

1. Accept your child’s online life

Many adults clearly distinguish between their online and offline lives, but young people rarely make such distinctions — their offline and online lives are one and the same.

As danah boyd explains in her book It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, young people increasingly socialize online because today’s parents restrict their ability to socialize offline much more than in the past. Teens still want to spend time with their friends, but because they are often not allowed to hang out at the mall or the movies, their socializing has moved online.

Given the importance of technology to teens, well-meaning suggestions like “Nobody cares what you had for breakfast” or “Just delete your account” are likely to be met with an exaggerated eye roll.

If a child has been cyberbullied, taking away their access to technology — even as a well-intentioned safety precaution — may further victimize them and reduce their likelihood of telling adults about future incidents.

2. Set rules for online interaction

Accepting technology does not mean ignoring it. About one in eight parents do not set any rules about what their children do online.

Yet setting rules about when children can go online, and what they can and cannot do, is one of the simplest and most effective ways of preventing cyberbullying, according to research.

Children are also less likely to cyberbully others when they believe that their parents are likely to punish them for such behaviour.

How to protect your kids from cyberbullyingResearch shows that parental strategies such as regulating internet time and content can help reduce the risk of online harassment. (Shutterstock)

The American Academy of Pediatrics specifically recommends setting limits on screen time for young people.

While their recommendations deal with a range of issues, other research indicates that young people’s risk of cyberbullying increases as they spend more time online.

3. Teach respect and responsibility online

Parents should teach their children how to behave online, just as they teach them how to use manners and be respectful offline. On the internet, this is known as “netiquette,” and it reduces young people’s involvement in cyberbullying.

Behaving responsibly online is a skill that needs to be taught. A popular analogy compares society’s approaches to introducing young people to two powerful machines: Vehicles and the internet.

Before teenagers are allowed to drive, they have to follow a series of graduated steps that includes a great deal of learning and practice under close supervision. And yet, when children begin using technology, we often tell them to “be smart” and hope for the best.

Admittedly, it can be difficult for many parents to keep up with trends in technology — popular apps and social networking sites come and go quickly. Rather than being seen as an obstacle, parents can embrace these innovations as an opportunity for their children to teach them about their favourite apps and websites.

This allows parents to learn what their children are doing, while offering a non-threatening opportunity to ensure that their children know all of their Instagram followers or Snapchat friends and that they are not publicly sharing personal details.

4. Monitor online activities

It is important that parents monitor their children’s online activities just like they monitor their offline activities.

Parents are accustomed to asking their children where they are going, who they will be with, and what time they will be home. Fewer ask these types of questions online: What websites are you visiting? Who are you talking to? What are you doing online?

Research has found that this type of parental mediation greatly reduces children’s likelihood of being cyberbullied. Making use of built in parental controls and safety features may be also be helpful.

As technology becomes more portable, best practices like keeping computers in high traffic areas of the home become more difficult. As a result, active parental monitoring is becoming increasingly important.

Parents’ efforts should be tailored to their child’s age and maturity. And, despite a parent’s best intentions, their child may still experience cyberbullying.

If this happens, parents should listen to their children, take their concerns seriously and seek help from others when necessary.

What’s the best way to stop cyberbullying? As a parent, you are responsible to keep your kids safe online. Unfortunately, many children use the Internet to bully others through their smartphones. Mobile phones bring convenience to children’s lives, but the bullying story is inevitably happening in the online world. If you are concerned that your children are being bullied online, check out the article below to identify it and learn how to stop cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is the act of bullying through digital devices such as mobile phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can be done through text messages, social media, forums or online games where people can view, participate or share content. Examples of cyberbullying include sending hurtful texts or instant messages, posting embarrassing photos or videos on social networking sites, and spreading average rumors online by using mobile phones.

If you want to figure out if your child is being bullied on the Internet, you need to pay close attention to your child’s online activities. If you don’t see signs of cyberbullying, you can breathe a sigh of relief. If you find that your child is being bullied, please take it seriously.

To some extent, cyberbullying is the same as traditional bullying. When school ends, traditional bullying stops. However, children have almost no chance of escaping online bullying. Nowadays, many children use the Internet to bully and harass each other through their smartphones. Therefore, we list several proven ways to help you prevent cyberbullying before it happens.

Educate yourself

Communicate

Monitor online activities

Build a positive climate

You can create a group chat or forum where parents can discuss issues related to cyberbullying.

Learn how to create a strategic system between you, your child, and the thing we know as the world wide web to ensure the safety of your child from cyberbullying. Setting guidelines for a responsible digital presence, as a parent, is what a child of the 21st century needs.

P icture a Venn diagram. Three circles. You, your child, and the internet. Each circle is its own entity, but as all three are intertwined, there are differences in the dynamics shared between the three. Learning how to create a safe environment within this Venn diagram will help you protect your child from cyberbullying and ultimately teach them to become responsible digital citizens.

How to protect your kids from cyberbullying

Let’s clarify: Circle A represents you. Circle B represents your child. And, circle C represents that thing we call the internet. Sometimes in life, it’s necessary to focus in real close, to the details … other times, it’s more important to zoom out and take a look at how everything is connected in the big picture.

This Venn diagram shows four spaces between our three circles. Each space signifies a special relationship that every person, parent or child, has to learn how to navigate through.

Let’s begin with space 1: Your own relationship with technology.

This is a self-evaluation stage, between circle “a” and circle “c”. Overlooked a lot of the time, but the way you act as a parent, regardless of what you preach, indirectly affects how your child behaves. Think about your own relationship with technology. Are you pleased with how much time you’re spending online? Do you spend time scrolling through social media mindlessly?

Would you be okay with your child adopting your online habits?

Setting boundaries for yourself is equally as important as telling your child to turn off the computer or to put down the phone. Recalibrate your own online habits and you’ll create a guideline for your child to follow. Children often mimic the actions they see their parents take, or don’t take. Don’t underestimate the power these small – yet pivotal – reflections can have.

Space 2: The parent-child relationship, itself.

Every relationship is unique, especially parent-child relationships (circle “a” and circle “b”). While this is a subject matter entirely on its own, the space we are concerned with in our trusty Venn diagram is that of communication. Building trust for open dialogue between you and your child is a crucial link to preventing cyberbullying. Knowing that they have a space to speak freely to you, children can feel comfortable coming to you to talk about what they do or do not know about, what I believe is still the greatest mystery of our time, the internet! It’s essential that your child knows they can trust you with what happens online: the good and the bad. When confronted in this space:

  • listen to their concerns or troubles
  • respond calmly with compassion
  • be prepared to learn yourself

While this is a space to nurture your parent-child bond as a preventative measure against the isolation, secrecy, and mental illness associated with cyber-bullying, should your child find himself or herself in such a circumstance the key is to hold this space safe for them to ask for your help.

How to protect your kids from cyberbullying

Setting guidelines for a responsible digital presence and protection from cyberbullying is what a child of the 21st century needs. Copyright: Syda Productions

Space 3: Your child’s personal experience with the online world.

As time goes on and technology advances, the interactions we have with it become more intimate. Parents must accept that these moments won’t always happen in your presence. It is up to you, in other spaces, to instill the right foundation of awareness and confidence so that when your child does interact with the online world, between circle “b” and circle “c,” he or she will act responsibly as a digital citizen. There is the option of totally cutting kids off from social media, for instance, but it is unlikely he or she won’t ever interact with the online world at some point.

Learning how to be mindful of the digital footprint you leave behind is a skill we all must learn and prepare our children for.

Ultimately, allowing children a sense of freedom of choice, after adequately preparing them, leads to stronger confidence and trust in your parent-child relationship.

Space 4: The sweet spot.

This is where you, your child, and the internet are all in one space. This is where you have the authority to enforce rules and restrictions that you deem necessary. Building a healthy relationship with technology usage may mean:

  • keeping the computer in a common area of the home
  • asking your child to show you his or her social media profiles
  • setting time limits
  • monitoring their behavior during and after online interactions
  • asking for help if you need it

Make sure to keep any limitations reasonable. Going back to space 2, in keeping the dialogue open, maybe explain to your child why you are taking these preventative measures. Be transparent. If they understand that you are not trying to take something away from him or her but instead protecting them from the dangers of online behaviors, they may be more acclimated to abide by your rules and not retreat to unhealthy online habits. Kids are more receptive when they know they are being treated with respect.

It comes down to communication.

Above all, perhaps it’s more important, now more than ever, to learn to communicate with your child. Children are always learning and absorbing information; all the science in the world can tell you that. Talk to them about creating a responsible digital presence.

Just as technology keeps advancing, so should you as a parent. Don’t let this trouble you. Instead, take delight in the challenge of adapting to your child’s growing mind and developing character! Learn to create a system that works for you and your child with simple boundaries that will lead you to a healthier relationship with technology itself. Let’s put an end to cyberbullying.


Written by a NortonLifeLock employee

Cyberbullying is not very different from the ill reputed bullying that happens in the school yard. It has the same psychological and social implication that leaves the formative minds of children insecure. What makes cyberbullying a little more intense than bullying is it not limited to the school yard.

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According to a 2015 survey 34.4% of students between the ages of 11 and 15 have been cyberbullied. This includes children who have been threatened online to be hurt, had rumors spread about them, or had mean and hurtful comments or pictures of them online.

This onslaught of hateful messages follows children everywhere they go. Left with no respite, many children avoid interaction with adults and peers, show a drop in grades, display anger, depression, self harm and in extreme cases resort to suicide. Children don’t like to talk about such incidents. They are often embarrassed to admit they are cyberbullied or they don’t know that what is happening to them is a type of cyberbullying. They also feel no one will understand what they are going through and will try to fight it alone.

Parents, educators and caregivers need to recognize the signs of cyberbullying and do whatever it takes to help the victims. Bombarding them with questions like “Are you being bullied?” will only drive them further away. Instead find out what their school day feels like. Ask “Who did you have lunch with?” “What are the kids in school talking about these days?” Most children will respond with some answer that will give you an insight about what’s going on in school.

Here are few ways parents can talk to their children about cyberbullying:

1. Discuss.

Ask your child about what he/she knows about the recent rise in cyberbullying. Children don’t like to come up and say they are victims. It is better to talk about an incident reported in the news and see your child’s view on it.

2. Assure

Be there for them. Assure your child that you will be there for him/her if such a thing were to happen to them even if they are somewhat responsible for it. Let them know that you will keep all conversations between the two of you private and will not intervene unless it’s absolutely necessary.

3. Cyber rules

Every home should have certain guidelines and rules for the usage of technology. Besides the amount of time children spend online, teach them online etiquette. It’s as simple as expecting them to behave online the way they would in real life. This means they should not use another person’s cell phone or computer without his/her permission circulate embarrassing photographs or video about another person forward hurtful or embarrassing messages or media use anonymous or unrecognizable screen names to communicate use foul or abusive language that could embarrass or hurt others

4. Explain

Treat your children like adults when you are explaining the rules to them. Let them know why they are enforced in the first place. The use of technology is a privilege and must be handled responsibly. Make them understand that breaking rules has consequences that are beyond your control. There are laws that protect victims of cybercrime.

5. Safety first

Talk to them about how important cyber safety is. Keep their computers, laptops and cell phones protected with a comprehensive security suite tailored to protect children from online threats. Encourage your children to block and ignore people who send hateful messages.

6. Empathy

Let your child know that you understand that there are two sides to each story and you will do your best to support your child. If your child knows someone who is being bullied encourage your child to convince the victim to report the incident to the school office. Remind your child that there is nothing to be ashamed of when he/she is a victim of cyberbullying. It’s the cyberbullies who should be ashamed of their actions. They are unhappy people who want to have control over your child’s feelings so that he/she feels as badly as they do. There is always a solution to every problem in life. So instead of dwelling on it, encourage your child to engage on activities that excite them like sports, hobbies, hanging out with positive thinking friends. And if there is a need seek help from parents, teachers, and trusted adults, they have got your back.

Want to know more about cyberbullying? Read our blog What is Cyberbullying?

How to protect your kids from cyberbullying
We live in a hyper-connected world, and risks like cyberbullying are gaining more prominence. Nowadays, bullying has evolved from after-school fist fights or shakedowns for lunch money to bullying on social media, email, and text. In fact, the extent of bullying has advanced far beyond just a school issue. Cyberbullying in today’s world has taken on a whole new meaning, with perpetrators being able to hide behind the screen. Furthermore, the internet has amplified the impact of bullying as mediums offer rapid distribution and no erase buttons.

Actor Idris Elba temporarily quit social media in 2019 as he found it to be a breeding ground for negativity and online bullying, which led to depression. In fact, cyberbullying can have tragic consequences such as singer Goo Hara’s death by apparent suicide at the young age of 28, which upon investigation was found linked to horrific cyberbullying attacks.

Read on as we discuss what cyberbullying is, it’s lasting effects, how you can stop it, and what you can do to ensure cyber hygiene.

What Is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the process of bullying using digital technologies. This can take place on messaging platforms, social media, mobile phones, and gaming platforms. Furthermore, it is a repeated behavior, and is aimed at angering, shaming, or scaring those targeted. Cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying can happen alongside each other.

However, cyberbullying leaves a digital footprint that can prove useful and provide evidence to stop the abuse.

The Effects of Cyberbullying

The effects of cyberbullying are based on the nature of bullying, with some common ones being depression, insomnia, unwillingness to go out, and suicidal tendencies in extreme cases.

How to Stop Cyberbullying?

It is essential you help stop cyberbullying. If you have updated information about cyberbullying, the experiences that people have, and how and where it occurs, you can help prevent such an attack from occurring ever again.

Best Practices on Social Media to Prevent Cyberbullying

  • Report and flag the abuser.
  • Do not engage in any malicious acts.
  • Limit what you share online.
  • Do not add unknown people to your network.
  • Take a digital break if necessary.

Furthermore, staying educated and educating children regarding cyberbullying and its effects can help. Some of the steps to stop bullying are:

  • It’s important to report bullying rather than hiding out of fear and embarrassment. Whenever such an incident occurs, immediately inform a trusted source.
  • Ensure internet safety by never leaving your email and social media accounts open while browsing on public computers as it can be misused by others operating the systems.
  • Always maintain good cyber safety by not sharing personal information on the internet as cyberbullies can misuse it. Furthermore, always search yourself on Google every few weeks to check what is associated with your name. Take anything you don’t like down from your accounts or set them private.
  • Parents and teachers should immediately contact legal authorities whenever cyberbullying in school occurs.
  • Avoid clicking on links or open files sent by unknown users as it might steal your personal information and track your activities.
  • Parents can install parental control software that allows them to monitor the online activities of their kids.

Learn How You Can Protect Yourself and Your Child With CodeRed

Cybercrime and You: Staying Safe in a Hyper-Connected World

Cybercrime has become a major part of our daily lives in our digital-first world. In this course, you will learn about the types of cybercrimes that can affect you and your loved ones and the cyber hygiene best practices designed to keep you safe online.

Insider Secret from an Ethical Hacker on Internet Security.

We live in a digital world, and it is very easy for cybercriminals to steal our identities. This course is for you if you want to know how vulnerable your data is to cybercriminals and the best ways to protect it. Furthermore, human error is usually our biggest weakness, and this training will help you protect yourself online.

Cyberbullying and You (Coming Soon)

Cyberbullying is among the most common types of online harassment, and it is becoming more predominant in the world. This course is useful for a wide range of audiences wanting to learn about cyberbullying. Furthermore, you will learn about warning signs and the best way to protect yourself against cyberbullies.