Two years ago, an interesting initiative on behalf of The Cybersmile Foundation was born – June 20 was designated an international day under the slogan: „Stop Cyberbullying Day ” (org. STOP Cyberbullying Day ), as an opportunity for all of us to express our opposition to the spread of online violence . It is a day on which anyone worried about the modern rise of the „culture of hating” and bullying on the Internet can voice their objection by joining the action.
There is no doubt that bullying itself is not something new. However, the new technology has made the attackers' task much easier and caused many more problems for victims who often become vulnerable. A disturbing trend has become – not always conscious – „adding fuel to the fire” in online discussions.
It is therefore very important that we talk to our children about cyberbullying. If you are the parent of a child who may have been a potential target of an attack, remind them that they are not alone with the problem. People around the world struggle with this phenomenon – including public figures such as Miley Cyrus, Cheryl Cole, Demi Lovato, Kim Kardashian and many others. These people have repeatedly commented on their unpleasant experiences on the Internet.
If you are a parent, take a look at our list of the most important and practical tips for protecting your children from online abuse:
- The basic thing: talk to your children about the potential dangers.
- Encourage them to talk to you about their experiences in the virtual world, especially anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. Protecting children from virtual attackers is especially difficult in the case of smartphones, where much of the activity takes place beyond the parents' eyesight. Treat cyberbullying as if it were some kind of real-life harassment: encourage children to be open-minded and notify a trusted adult when threatened or in indecent content. In the applications, it is possible to block the numbers and contacts of people who make your child feel uncomfortable or simply unhappy.
- Establish clear rules for online activity – what can and should not be done. Explain why you classified these activities in this way. Of course, these rules should be reviewed and updated as your child grows.
- Use parental control software to create a framework on matters that are acceptable to you: how much time (and when) your child spends online, what content should be blocked, and what types of activity should be restricted (chats, forums and others). Parental control filters can be configured differently for each profile on the computer, allowing you to adjust the appropriate requirements depending on the age of the child.
- Don’t forget to use the settings offered by your internet service provider, device manufacturer or mobile operator. For example: most modern phones let you protect yourself from paid in-app services so you can avoid getting a huge phone bill while your kids play games.
- Protect your computer with Internet Security software .
- Do not forget about your children’s smartphones – today they are fully advanced computers, not just devices for sending SMS. Most smartphones have a built-in parental control app, but antivirus vendors also offer mobile apps for filtering obscene content, blocking nuisance SMS senders, etc.