The idea of cyberbullying can be daunting and sometimes confusing, what is it and how can I spot it?
Cyberbullying is notorious for being much more hidden and hard to notice than traditional “old-school” bullying (in-person taunts and physical bullying). Ever since social media sites like Facebook and Instagram have become mainstream among school children, more platforms have been made available for bullying to take place on.
Without the physical signs of bullying, and without any verbal taunts to overhear, most parents rely on their children telling them themselves. However, less than half of children who experience cyberbullying ever tell an adult, and because it happens ‘behind closed doors’, if parents or teachers do find out about it, it is usually after the incident has already occurred.
Teenagers (and pre-teens) like to keep their private life, well, private, so how are we meant to have any idea about what they are doing? It is important to make sure that your child sees regular communication as normal and easy. Encourage your child to discuss their online activity as much as their offline activity as it often takes up a lot of their spare time, particularly on weekends and holidays.
Online Them enables you to be aware of potential cyberbullying, harassment, or grooming as and when it occurs. With real-time alerts on high-risk language, indicators of cyberbullying, contact with a new account, and indicators of adult content, you no longer have to wait to be told. You are kept constantly in the loop so that you can rest assured knowing whether your child is involved in any potentially damaging online conversation.
What should I do if my child is being cyberbullied?
Step 1) Communicate with your child.
Use the report as a way to start the conversation and gain a deeper understanding of the incidents by talking to your child.
Step 2) Inform online service providers.
Cyberbullying often violates terms of service established by social media sites so be sure to review their terms and conditions and report the offender(s) to the site and block them from contacting your child.
Step 3) Report Cyberbullying to Schools.
Cyberbullying is often related to in-person bullying at school and can interfere in studies, friendships, and personal growth. If the incident(s) are not able to be resolved, then bringing the situation to schools allows them to implement their anti-bullying procedure and encourages them to keep a more watchful eye over the student(s) in question.
Step 4) Report Cyberbullying to the Police.
It is important to know when cyberbullying steps over into law-breaking. If the incidents involve threats of violence, sexually explicit messages or photos, taking photos/videos of a person in a place in which they would expect privacy, stalking, and hate crimes, these are matters that should be reported to the police.
Establish rules about technology use. When is acceptable to be online? If you are concerned about your child having risky conversations online, it is likely that these will be happening at night rather than under your nose in the living room.
Additionally, talk to them about the dangers of posting personal information and ensure that they understand that they cannot take back what they post online; once it is out there, anyone can screenshot or save a post or picture and forward or upload it. Ask your kids if they want the entire online community to be able to see a certain post? If the answer is ‘no’ then it is important that they understand that they should not publish the post.
Online Them can help increase your awareness of your child’s social media use without breaking their trust. You can connect to their social media accounts, with their consent, and receive reports and real-time alerts informing you of any indicators of cyberbullying, adult content, and inappropriate conversations as well as inappropriate language use, so that you can act immediately. Online Them encourages open communication and enables you to deal with any issues, such as talking to a stranger or being involved in cyberbullying, before any of these risks develop further.
As well as informing you of the risks of social media, Online Them gives you insights into your child’s likes and hobbies that you may not otherwise be aware of, providing opportunities to discuss their interests and giving you a deeper insight into how your child is growing up.
To know more about how Online Them can help keep your child safe online, click here.