You've probably heard the term cyberbullying thrown around on media over the past few years. Since we didn't grow up with a tablet in our hands, we have a hard time comprehending the new age of communication. But if you take a minute to think about how much time our kids are on their devices and how many people are on their 'friends' list, you might reconsider the potential for cyberbullying.
Did you know that more than 1 in 3 young people have experienced threats online? As a parent myself, I found that statistic to be alarming. The primary reason that cyberbullying is so much worse than regular bullying is that one rumor can reach the whole school with the touch of a button. When we were kids, it took a while for a rumor to surface. But today it can easily be on the front page of every child's device in a matter of minutes. It's almost as if every day kids can write a mean message on the front wall of a school lobby without any repercussions. In addition, kids can take pictures of that wall and save them in their online library which can live forever.
Here are a few ways to prevent your children from being cyberbullied.
1. Offer parent check-ins. Every night my daughter and I have a 'check-in' when we're alone and I ask her if she has any questions. This has been something we both enjoy and look forward to. Perhaps your 'check-ins' could be in the car or at the dinner table, but the point is that your kids can talk to you without feeling judged. Try to listen more than giving advice unless advice is clearly requested. Most of the time, kids just want to be heard and hear things like, "Wow, that must have been upsetting." or "why do you think she did that?". This type of dialogue can really help a kid be more confident and also resilient. While it can be tempting to 'give your two cents', this is the time to just listen and get an idea of what's going on in your child's life.
2. Parental control software. Parental control software like Net Nanny offers parents a way to keep an eye on their child's online activity by setting up an easy to use dashboard and notifications for reputation damaging pictures or phrases. It's almost as if you're staying at the mall before dropping them off on their own.
3. Monitor screen time. If left to their own devices, many children would be on their devices every waking minute. This would prevent parents from knowing anything about how their child is interacting with friends. Limiting screen time encourages kids to interact with friends in real life giving parents a better understanding of what's happening when they aren't watching.
Interested in learning more about Net Nanny? Join the millions of parents that trust the #1 parental control software.
Bio: Toni Schmidt is a single mom to 2 young girls leading the way in the unchartered territories of digital parenting. Toni is the Social Media Manager for Net Nanny and has been featured on Huffington Post and NBC Philadelphia.
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