Parents want to take care of their children, but they also want kids to learn how to stand up by themselves. That’s a tough balance to find, especially when it comes to school. You don’t want to be one of those parents who babies their children, right?
But when it comes to cyberbullying, the rules are a bit different. You need to get involved. That’s because cyberbullying can be much more damaging than its traditional counterpart. Before you can help, you need to know exactly what cyberbullying is.
What Makes It So Bad
In the past, bullying was easier to define and spot. It was when a bully threatened or beat up other kids at school. Now that everyone seems to be online, bullying has upgraded to cyberbullying. Cyberbullying.org explains that as, “Willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.”
That means the bullying might not be physical, but it still has a huge negative impact on your children. Stopbullying.gov gives three reasons why cyberbullying is different from bullying in the past:
- You can’t always delete hateful messages or embarrassing pictures because they’ve already been shared repeatedly online.
- Bullies can be anonymous online, making it very hard to know who to speak with about it.
- There’s nowhere safe from cyberbullying. It can happen at any time of day or night as well.
Staying Safe Online
It’s not like your kids can avoid every cyberbully out there. They can’t even stay offline, not these days. That’s why your child needs to make smart choices when online. These include:
- Never give out personal information (address, phone number, age, etc.) to people you only know online.
- Have your kids come talk to you if they are ever upset about something online.
- Do not post pictures (especially any that could be considered inappropriate) for the general public to view.
- Never share passwords with anyone, not even good friends.
You also have to speak to your kids about cyberbullying. Specifically, make sure you cover the following:
- Tell your kids they do not have to take any bullying online, and that since bullies want to make them angry, they should ignore them whenever possible.
- However, your kids need to save all messages. This is evidence and can be used to find the bully.
- Make sure your children have the right privacy settings and software in place. Contact any social media your child uses for more information.
Stress-Free At Home
Getting cyberbullied can be incredibly stressful, especially because it can take a while to figure out who is bullying your kids. That’s why it pays to work on keeping a stress-free home. Redfin has an excellent page with some tips for doing just that, such as:
- Reduce clutter and increase organization in your home (especially your children’s bedrooms). Organization not only reduces stress but it also improves focus.
- Add plants to your rooms. People feel more calm and connected when there is some nature in the house.
- Encourage your children to exercise, eat right, and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Keeping their bodies healthy also keeps their minds healthy.
Don’t Ignore Cyberbullying
Because there’s often no physical threat, it’s tempting to ignore cyberbullying. However, that’s what the bully wants you to do. Instead, speak to your children about being safe online. Encourage them to bring up any problems, and reduce the stress in your home so your kids can better withstand the bullying. You cannot always be there for your kids, but you can teach them how to take care of themselves.
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