Parents may not be fully aware of the kind of problems that a child can suffer as a result of cyber bullying, so it is important that they become involved and keep their children safe from this phenomenon as far as possible. Use these tips to keep kids safe from cyber bullying from the NCPC –
Talk to your kids – There are admittedly many benefits to be obtained from the internet but also make children aware of the risks and possible pitfalls of the internet and how children can, in particular be vulnerable.
Explain how seemingly innocuous incidents may be potentially dangerous – a stranger starting a discussion with a teen about pictures he or she may have posted online may seem harmless but when the stranger is a predatory individual, it could have very ominous consequences.
Explain how dangerous it could be to ever arrange to meet an online acquaintance face to face.
Counsel kids to not give out personal information such as addresses, phone numbers, information about which school the child goes to, and other information such as credit card numbers, or other personal identification numbers and details.
Keep up to date with new trends and technology – Keep abreast with what is the ‘cool’ or ‘happening’ place to be on the net. Visit websites or social networking sites that kids typically visit to see what goes on there and what typically a child may encounter there. Keep track of the online behavior of kids.
Help kids understand how to respond to bullying – Show kids how messages can be blocked and/or deleted without reading. Explain that revenge and tit for tat is not a solution but that bullying behavior can be reported to Internet service providers (ISPs) and website moderators. Moderators of online groups are an effective means to solve cyber bullying incidents.
Set boundaries and enforce them – Ensure that rules and responsibilities as well as possible consequences are clearly understood by kids. Make sure that they know there will be tangible consequences. Take practical steps like setting up the computer in a commonly used place in the house so that the teen has a hard time physically hiding what he or she is up to online.
Also explain that cyber bullying is not OK to indulge in – that it isn’t funny or inconsequential. Kids need not think they are anonymous, they can get caught out and then there can be very serious consequences and punishment when they are traced and located.