Do you know what your child is doing when they hold a tablet or smartphone in their hand? Maybe he is watching a movie or playing a game. Or maybe someone is harassing them in chat. You never know, unless you are in control of your child’s digital life.
Cyberbullying is one of the undesirable effects of the hypersocialization that the internet, especially social networks, brings us. It consists in conducting conversations on the Internet in such a way that the innocent interlocutor feels humiliated, intimidated, etc. It most often affects children.
Unfortunately, this phenomenon is becoming more and more common. Almost half of the children have experienced online harassment, and 1 in 4 children have had contact with it more than once.
“The internet gives us a lot of good, although unfortunately it also allows some people to release their negative traits, with the result that cyberbullying is becoming an increasingly common problem. The mental damage done to the victim can be enormous and lasting. It is probably impossible to prevent such incidents in a technical way, so we need to talk about it to raise awareness of this issue and help young people and their parents safely use all the advantages of the Internet, ”said Yevgeny Kasperski.
Children and teens are deeply fascinated by the world of virtual communication, much more than their parents. They take everything they live through on the Web quite seriously. Unlike adults, young people have weaker mental defense mechanisms, or even no defense mechanisms at all. Do you remember how many times internet calls made you angry, or felt insulted or upset? Imagine how your child feels when he or she experiences something similar.
Adults can decide for themselves how they behave. Sometimes they want to relax and click like children without thinking. But in general they know how adults behave. And children always act like children. And it’s not bad at all, it’s perfectly normal. Children should be curious and experiment in gaining knowledge about the world. The point is, at times, this behavior can be dangerous and parents need to help their children with problems.
How to protect your child from cyberbullying
Much of the problem is that parents are rarely aware of cyberbullying. Despite the fact that 2/3 of children and adolescents consider online bullying a real problem, few would report it to a parent or trusted adult.
So, what should parents do to protect their child from the trauma of an online victim?
- First, be patient as it will take some time. As with any serious problem, cyberbullying cannot be solved in minutes.
- Don’t wait for the child to come and say they have a problem. This moment may not come – you should initiate the conversation.
- Of course, every person has the right to privacy. But that’s no reason not to keep your finger on the pulse of your child’s online activity. Know what your child is doing on social networks. You can make them friends on any portal where you both have accounts. Only 20% of parents do this – let’s improve this result.
- Talk to your child about bullying, tell him he may come to you when he or she is faced with this problem. Explain that this is a common problem so that the young person stops blaming himself.
- Never use prohibitions. Taking your child’s phone or disconnecting the internet won’t help. In fact, this is exactly what your child is afraid of, so his hesitation about telling you grows.
- Discuss the basics of security and privacy on the Internet. Together, change your privacy settings on social networks so that strangers cannot see your private data.
- To protect your child effectively, use parental control applications.