What is cyber bullying?Cyber bullying is the use of technology to bully others. Examples include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
With the increase of technology use by kids at a younger age, cyber bullying is becoming more and more prevalent.
Prevent cyber bullying?Kids and parents can both prevent cyber bullying by communicating with each other and practicing safe uses of technology.
- Be Aware of what your children are doing online
- Know what websites and social media sites your children visit
- Make sure you have access to your child's login information and view the content regularly
- Learn about the devices your children use and the content of their text messages and online activity
- Become "friends" with, "links" with, or "follow" your children on social media websites
- Encourage open discussions with your children regarding all activity. Allow them to voice their concerns and problems they may be having. You can open opportunity for discussion by asking their opinions on posts from other people.
- Talk to your children about the following:
- Set clear expectations and guidelines regarding what sites they can and cannot visit (show them how to be safe online)
- Once something is posted, it cannot be removed from public view. With snapshot technology and the ability to save profiles, posts, etc., it is important to be cautious of what you post online. Do not post anything that could harm or embarrass others or yourself.
- If you do not want your family, teachers, employers, etc. seeing the post - do not post it. It may affect you years later, if not immediately.
- Utilize security settings. Keep passwords safe and do not share your passwords with others.
- Limit the amount of personal and financial information online. For example, a 16 year old posting "I will be home alone for the entire weekend", can potentially put your child in harm's way as criminals may see the information.
- Report all suspicious activity and encourage your children to talk to you, teachers, and other trusted adults when there is a problem.
- NEVER give personal information to those you do not know in person. Never arrange a meeting with a person you do not know, unless your parents are aware of the meeting and you have someone with you. ALWAYS meet in a public place.
Signs your child has been victim of cyber bullyingNot all children are comfortable talking to their parents. It can be difficult and at time frustrating for parents to not know what their child is doing.
If you have difficulty getting your child to talk to you, the following signs may indicate they have become victim of cyber bullying:
- A changed attitude towards technology: the child is either hesitant to go online or spends longer hours at the computer
- The child seems upset after using the computer or cell phone
- Nervousness when receiving texts, e-mails, or instant messages
- The child hides or clears the computer screen or closes his cell phone when you enter
- Withdrawal from friends
- The child falls behind in his schoolwork
- Fear of going to school or to social events (birthdays, school trips, outings)
- A visible change in personality, behavior or mood: the child seems withdrawn, sad, anxious, or agitated
- A change in sleep pattern and appetite
- Aggressive behaviour
- A sudden change of friends