SYLVIA MCCRORY JULY 2020
With the creation of the internet, social media and anonymity came the ability for others to reach our children and harass them in the form of cyberbullying. At this point, I am not even going to quote statistics, because the numbers are growing each day. It is safe to assume that anyone on social media, using e-mail, instant messaging or numerous internet platforms are at risk of being a target of cyberbullying.
Children need to be made aware of the mentality of someone who is a cyberbully. First, they must understand, there is nothing wrong with them. Cyberbullies are typically insecure, they target people who make them feel better about themselves. The cyberbully is usually more aggressive in how they act online due to the ability to be anonymous. They may also target people who have qualities they are jealous of, or possess something they do not, or that they find weak in some way. There are numerous other reasons people choose to become cyberbullies, children just need to recognize they have done wrong and do not deserve to be bullied.
According to Enough.org, there are some things parents can do to be proactive in case of cyberbullying.
Talk to your children BEFORE it happens.
Make children aware cyberbullies want confrontation, stress to children, they must NOT engage with a cyberbully, show no online reaction. However, they should alert parents as soon as they receive any communication from a cyberbully. Parents should not erase or delete the message. “Your children do not have to read the messages they receive from bullies, but they (or you) need to keep messages as evidence. To report cyberbullying, it is important to save as much information as possible. The more you save, the easier it will be to track down the people that are bothering your child. (Save the e-mail, e-mail address, date and time received, copies of all relevant e-mails, screenshots, etc.) Finally, use software to block bullies if encountered through chat or IM and use privacy settings on social networking pages.”
Encourage your children to talk to you if anybody says or does something online that makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened.
It’s important for children to feel comfortable talking with you about cyberbullying, do not panic or over-react. Report incidents to school if it is school related. Report to police if there is a threat of violence.
Warning signs someone is being cyberbullied
Warning signs include reluctance to use the internet, reluctance to go to school or changes in mood.
Protect contact information
“Children should assume that people will use the information they post online to cause them harm. Remind your children that the people they communicate with and befriend online have open access to ALL of their posted content and information, and they can forward or use any of that information against them.”
Remove personal information from all public sites and make social media profiles private.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:14 (NIV)
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