How to protect your child from cyberbullies

How to protect your child from cyberbullies How to protect your child from cyberbullies

Sadly, cyberbullying has become all-too-common in today's world, and sometimes with very tragic consequences.

Unlike with face-to-face bullying, kids can't come home and shut the door to block out their tormentors because cyberbullies can follow them anywhere.

How to protect your kids

The reality of the internet is that there's always potential danger lurking.

And while you can't block it out completely, you can take steps to better protect your child - and to equip them with the know-how to raise the alarm if they feel threatened.

These tips can help you protect your kids from cyberbullies.

Forewarned is forearmed

  1. Know the risks: Understand what cyberbullying is, where and how it happens, and how to spot it. Explain that online bullies can act friendly at first, but also encourage your child to be on the lookout for any interactions that make them feel bad, scared, or sad.
  2. Talk about it: Have ongoing discussions with your child about what types of communication are acceptable and unacceptable. Make sure your child knows that it’s safe for them to talk to you if something makes them uncomfortable.
  3. Keep a watchful eye: Place the computer in a common room and monitor all screen time. Use a shared email account, and if you let kids interact on social media, make sure you have full access to manage their accounts. Parental control software is another great way to stay in the know.
  4. Set boundaries: Put time limits on screen time. Include all online activities - from homework to playing games and surfing the web. Restrict social media access and email accounts, and set rules for any messaging apps and texting. Let your kids know you’ll be checking in regularly.
  5. Build a network: The more people you have looking out for your kid online, the more likely you are to keep them safe. Know your kids’ friends and their parents. Enlist support from school, sports, and church leaders.
  6. Be prepared to respond: Don’t wait until the heat of the moment to come up with your game plan. In case your kid does get bullied online, learn what the proper responses are so you can keep your emotions in check and help your child deal with what they’re going through.

Steps to take if your child has been targeted online

Here are some important tips to bear in mind if your child is targeted by cyberbullies.

  • Let your child know it’s not their fault
  • Cut off communication with the predator
  • Change online screen names, usernames, and passwords
  • Save screenshots or copies of messages and images from the predator
  • Report the activity to website administrators and police
  • Seek professional help for your child as appropriate.

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