Cyber-solutions to Cyberbullying
Social media was supposed to bring us together. Instead, it’s creating a chasm between groups and individuals as they take shots at each other in a passive-aggressive game of digital dodge ball.
Posting negative remarks about another person is a passive-aggressive attempt at bullying.
Children try to avoid these attacks, but it has become nearly impossible to escape any online bullying. Almost three out of every four children have witnessed online cyber bullying, and nearly half of them have been bullied online. Cyberbullying threatens the well-being and safety of our children.
Prevention is the first step in stopping cyber bullying. If cyberbullying occurs anyway, you’ll have to take the matter into your own hands and go beyond preventative strategies.
Monitor your children’s screen time
It may be your child’s phone or tablet, but you’re responsible for the well-being of your children regardless of the device they use.
Your children may not tell you everything you need to know about a cyberbullying event because they want to handle the issue themselves, or they may feel embarrassment or guilt about being bullied. You can gauge what’s going on by talking with your child and keeping an ongoing dialogue about Internet behavior.
Ask questions about what’s going on, and reassure your child to question the bad behavior of others.
Not all children will open up about their online experiences, so you must remain vigilant in monitoring the warning signs of cyberbullying:
· Changes in times or frequency of texting, messaging or posting.
· Secretive behavior while using an electronic device, like not wanting you to see the screen.
· Avoidance of favorite activities.
· Drastic changes in behavior; for example, becoming depressed or reacting emotionally to messages.
Know how to document and report cyberbullying
When possible, take screen shots of the cyberbullying. Save them as evidence.
There are many social media platforms and carriers, and even more websites that allow for interactive messaging, but most of them are committed to helping you identify and stop the bullying. To report cyber bully texting, contact your carrier. If the bullying is happening online, contact your Internet provider.
Many apps and websites devote a page to security and safety; look there for information on how to change the settings and report bullying.
If the problem continues, talk to other parents. Are their children having similar issues? Band together to stop the cyberbullying.
Follow through until you have a resolution
Reporting cyberbullying is not enough. Follow through to find out what has happened to your report. Authorities will not be able to tell you details about the resolution, but they can let you know if they have addressed the matter.
Check texts and social media posts to be sure that it’s been taken care of.
The cyber solutions you need
Today’s phones and electronic devices allow you to adjust the settings on your children’s electronic devices, but that may not be enough.
Cyber solutions to cyberbullying allow you to harness the power of technology to put an end to the persecution with apps like My Mobile Watchdog and BullyTag. My Mobile Watchdog allows parents to monitor their children’s messages, calls, and digital footprint. Bully Tag enables children to record incidents of bullying for further documentation.
Cyberbullying is never okay.
If you believe that a child has been endangered, abused online, or sexually exploited, contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (800-843-5678).