Cyberbullying has become more prevalent as technology becomes more readily available. Cyberbullying occurs online or through text messages and emails. Examples include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or social media, posting or sending embarrassing pictures or videos without consent, and creating fake profiles. Cyberbullying can be particularly destructive as it can happen anonymously and can be distributed quickly to a wide audience. The fact that emails and texts cannot easily be deleted make its effects long lasting.
There are a few ways your child and you can protect against cyberbullying.
- Establish rules for technology use in your house and on all devices.
- If your child has a social media account, make sure you explain and show your child how to set up privacy settings.
- No one but you and your child should know your child’s passwords; they are not to be shared with anyone, even friends.
- Follow your child’s social media accounts, by “friending” your child or signing up to follow their Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, blogs, or other accounts.
- Be aware of what sites your child visits online.
- Be wary of on-line video games, including XBox and others, which allow your child to play virtually with anyone else who happens to be playing the game. Some systems allow users to talk through headsets to whoever they allow into their game.
- Be sure to remind your child that anything your child posts or sends electronically can easily be forwarded or reposted elsewhere. This can cause embarrassment if it is read by an unintended audience.
- Encourage your child to tell you or another trusted adult if your child learns he or she is the victim of cyberbullying. Telling an adult could not only help to minimize the damage and prevent future occurrences, but an adult can help your child come up with ways to handle the situation with peers and can help maintain or rebuild self-esteem.
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