As parents we all want what is best for our children. While we might not always understand them it is important that we listen to them when they are talking to us. It can be especially important in the case of cyber bullying. I will admit that I did not realize that it was as big of a deal as it really is today.
Doing some simple research taught me that statistically cyber bullying is a very big deal for children. According to iSafe.org the following are true of cyber bullying:
- Nearly 60% of all kids will be victims of someone being mean to them online.
- More than 40% of all kids have been bullied at some point online.
- 35% of all kids have reported being threatened at some point online.
- 25% of all kids have been bullied more than once online.
- More than 20% of all kids have received messages that were threatening or mean.
As a parent these statistics are alarming and quite frightening because as a mom of four it is almost certain that at least one of my children be victims of a cyber bully.
So let’s take a look at what cyber bullying is, what it does to our children, and what we can do to prevent it.
What is Cyber Bullying?
Cyber bullying is a form of harassment that is done online. There are many different forms of cyber bullying and the bully could pose as your child to send messages or post things online that are inappropriate or degrading, pursue making fun of your child constantly, post incriminating photographs or videos of your child online, or could try to post online that your child was involved in something that they were not involved in.
What Does Cyber Bullying Do to Our Children?
There are many harmful things that can happen to your child as a result of being cyber bullied. A child that is cyber bullied is more likely to have a negative self image, low self esteem, depression, anxiety, feelings of loneliness, and even trouble sleeping. All of these things can cause your child to suffer in different areas of their life including having a hard time keeping grades up in school, standing up to peer pressure, and even having healthy friendships.
What Can We Do to Prevent It?
Teaching your child how to be safe online is the best defense against a cyber bully. Also making sure that your child is not on social media sites until they are the right age, having access to all of their online accounts, and monitoring their online activity can help reduce their risk of being targeted by a cyber bully.
It can also be beneficial to talk to your child, listen to their concerns, and to share with them the information about cyber bullies. Let them know what is not okay and that when someone does something like this to them that they are not their friends. Your child should feel that you have an open relationship so that they will come and talk to you first if these things are happening to them.
Finally, make sure that your child knows how to react if they are a victim of cyber bullying. Ensure that your child is prepared to take the right actions and to ignore the mean things that someone says to them. If your child is not mature enough to be able to walk away from these situations then they are probably not mature enough to be using types of websites like social media.