As parents, we find it hard not to fight our kids’ battles and with an issue as serious as cyberbullying, we can resist letting our children combat this social issue themselves. The problem is, one person alone cannot beat cyberbullying. This is everyone’s fight — adults and children and as parents we have to learn to let our kids get involved by teaching them how to handle online abuse.
Teensafe, the app that helps parents monitor their children’s social media usage has created a campaign called Digital Avengers that aims to help parents raise children who are capable to defend themselves and prevent cyberbullying. Here are seven tips will help parents to do this.
The stats regarding cyberbullying are significant. One figure alone shows how 87% of youth today have witnessed cyberbullying and chances are your kids have too. It takes education and empathy to raise kids who are not only passive fighters but active ones who choose to stop online abuse whenever they come across it.
It doesn’t take a slew of theories to raise digital avengers, rather, it is about teaching your kids these seven simple things.
Tell someone: Whether they are the victims or they come across bullying online, teach your kids to never keep online abuse to themselves. Teaching them to share this with an adult they trust will keep them from feeling isolated and depressed if they are the victims and potentially stop the bully from abusing them or someone else.
Don’t ignore it: 90% of teens who have witnessed cyberbullying admitted to ignoring it. Being passive will not help in the fight against this issue, so teach your kids about empathy and make them put themselves in the victim’s situation. Only in understanding what victims are going through can they become active fighters.
Report it: Rather than being passive, teach your kids to take action by reporting the cyberbully. On social media they can do this easily by clicking on the report button which is found near all the posts. If the media is not on a social site they can show it to an adult to potentially catch or at least, shut down the bully.
Don’t indulge in it: Your kids may not be bullies but they can encourage the cyberbully if they are liking these posts or having a laugh with others on comment sections or by sharing it. What your kids have to understand is that increasing the popularity of the post is only causing more damage to the victim.
Save evidence: Evidence is crucial in trying to catch a bully and your kids should be taught about the importance of saving screenshots, emails, texts, images, audio and other forms of media that can prove they or someone else are being cyberbullied.
Don’t share private data or media: Sometimes a bully can be someone close to you — a person who has your data or inappropriate content of you and decides to use it against you. This said, your kids must learn that sharing private data online or sending inappropriate images and videos of themselves can lead to serious consequences. A cyberbully can use this information to blackmail your kid or share it online.
Reach out: Cyberbullies won’t always be caught but your kids can still repair the damage by reaching out to the victim and showing their support. It doesn’t take much really — a simple text message, a note on social media or a short email are all ways your kids can prove to the victim that someone cares about them, no matter how lonely and isolated the cyberbully has made them feel.
Cyberbullying has led to a number of deaths that could have been easily avoided. Raising kids that do not tolerate online abuse is the only way of avoiding as many of these tragic stories as possible.