How Parents can help prevent Cyberbullying

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Being a parent can be tough work, let a lone the challenge of  keeping up with technology. In this day and age technology plays a big part in schools and in the home as we head towards the new digital age .  Ipad’s are introduced in primary schools and offer excellent educational apps for kids and in high school laptops are used to do work in class and at home. As kids get older they have smartphones so they can contact their friends or parents ect.

Having kids myself this is becoming a hot topic in our household as our kids are getting to the age of wanting to be socially online with their friends. Being a computer technician i often get asked about parental controls and have set it up for a few parents. However it is only recently i have spent time looking closer to home.

So i have been doing a bit of research into the topic and here are some cyber-bullying statistics that are sure to scare the pants of any parent:

1 in 5 Australian kids have experienced Cyberbullying.

One in five Australian children aged between 8 to 15 have experienced cyber-bullying.

In 2013 Three Quarters of All Australian schools reported cyber bullying

This was with an average of 22 complaints every year in a secondary school.

Most cyber-bullying takes place on social media and can often be difficult to remove bullying content such as Facebook, twitter, YouTube.

Lets learn more about how cyber-bullying occurs, what does it look like and how it feels:

What happens with cyber-bullying?

  • A lot of people can view or take part in it
  • It is often done in secret with the bully creating fake profiles or names, or sending anonymous messages
  • It is difficult to remove online content as it is shared online so it can be recorded and saved in different places and websites
  • It is hard for the person being bullying to escape if its at school and at home if they use technology often. Technology has removed the barrier between the bully and the victim
  • The content (photos, texts, videos) can be shared with a lot of people over multiple websites
  • This content may also be easy to find by searching on a web browser like Google.

So what does cyber-bullying look like?

  • Being sent mean or hurtful text messages from someone you know or even someone you don’t know.
  • Getting nasty,  hurtful or threatening messages through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter
  • People sending photos and videos of you to others to try and embarrass you or hurt your feelings
  • People spreading rumours about you via emails or social networking sites or text messages
  • People trying to stop you from communicating with others by out-casting you
  • People stealing your passwords or getting into your accounts and changing the information there
  • People setting up fake profiles pretending to be you, or posting messages or status updates from your accounts
  • People may edit your photos existing photos and turn them into embarrassing memes.

 

Some feelings you may be having if you are being bullied  

  • You may feel guilty like it is your fault
  • You may feel hopeless and stuck like you can’t get out of the situation
  • You might be feeling alone, like there is no one to help you
  • You feel like you don’t fit in with the cool people
  • You may be feeling depressed and rejected by your friends and other groups of people
  • Feeling unsafe and afraid
  • Feeling confused and stressed out wondering what to do and why this is happening to you
  • Feeling ashamed that this is happening to you

 

The effects of bullying

Victims of bullying are more likely to suffer from:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep Difficulties
  • Poor School Performance

Students who bully other are at increased risk for:

  • Substance abuse
  • Academic problems
  • Violence

How Parents can help prevent Cyberbullying

Start proactive conversations with your child about cyber-bullying. 

79% of parents claim to have talked to their children about online safety.

Some children dont realise sharing a personal photo or text message is a form of bullying. Be clear about what is and isn’t bullying behavior, and what your child can do to prevent it happening to them and to their friends.

Parental Controls for Home Computer or Laptop 

Speak to All Star IT about setting up parental controls on your home computer and laptops. All Star IT has a service called Tech Guard which has a web content filter that can put a block on categories like Social Media, Media Streaming, Chat Sites and anything else you feel maybe unsuitable for your family to be viewing.

This along with malware protection and antivirus which will prevent suspicious downloads like “Free XYZ click here to download” and it then infects your pc with a virus.

Setup logins for each family member and use the built in Windows Parental Controls. This can restrict certain content and also prompt for a password when trying to access certain things.

Parental Controls for Ipads and Android Tablets

For tablet devices we recommend the following Parental Control for Mobile Devices  and that is Curbi. Click the link to the left

Encourage them to take a stand against bullying

The actions of peers are more likely to deter a bully than anything an adult or victim can do

57% of bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the victim.

Keep computer in a common area of the home.

Dont have computers in kids bedrooms. Dont let them use ipads or laptops in the bedroom

Build trust with your children

Set time limits and explain reasons for them, discuss online safety and internet use.

Tell your children not to respond to any cyber-bullying threats or comments online. However, do not delete any of the messages. Instead, print out all the messages, including the e-mail addresses or online screen names of the cyberbully. You will need the messages to verify and prove there is cyber-bullying.

Talk to your Kids regularly about it

Encourage them to speak to you if they feel they are being bullied online.

Educate them about Cyber-bullying and being safe online:

There are other Social Media issues such as chatting to strangers and here are some excellent social media experiments to show kids just how dangerous it can be:

WHAT CAN KIDS DO?

1. Don’t respond to any online or text messages sent by cyberbullies.

2. Don’t be an accomplice by forwarding any of the messages to others kids.

3. Save and print out all the messages as proof and evidence of cyberbullying.

4. If you are being bullied, tell an adult immediately to get help solving the problem.

5. Stick up for kids you see are falling victim to a bully.

 

Hopefully this article has been helpful to you all and thanks for reading.

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