Our instinct as parents tells us that we should know what’s going on in our children’s lives and do everything we can to protect their happiness, but that’s hard to do if you don’t know what you’re up against. In recent years, there’s been a slew of bad press about cyberbullying, but most of us still don’t quite grasp what it means or what effects it can have on our kids. Leaving your kids vulnerable to a cyberbullying attack can result in them skipping school, developing long-term health problems, and more. Check out this infographic by Secure Thoughts to learn more. Here are some things you can do to mitigate the problem:
Whether that means you’re reading the news, blog posts, gossip from your friends, or whatever else, you should know what’s going on, both locally and nationally. Keep track of which websites your kids are most vulnerable to cyberbullying on and what they’re doing on the internet when your back is turned. Stay up to date on the issues faced by teens who are cyberbullied.
Protect them as best you can.
Don’t leave it up to your kids to protect themselves on the internet. Oftentimes, they won’t realize the danger they’re in. Check the sites they visit often, and make sure they’re not putting too much information about themselves on social media sites or forums. You should also be utilizing a VPN to ensure you have a secure connection that’s less likely to be targeted by hackers and predators. Do whatever you can to give yourself some peace of mind and keep your kids safe, even if it means your kids think you’re a bit controlling or uncool. They’ll thank you later.
Create a safe space.
What you really want to do is create an environment where your kids feel comfortable talking about their problems with you. Make sure they don’t feel embarrassed by sharing their problems and that they don’t feel as though you might do something embarrassing in an attempt to solve their problems. Keep computers in an open space, rather than letting kids use computers alone in their rooms. And you don’t have to be the “cool parent”, but make sure you’re supportive and open with your kids. It goes a long way.
For a better look at what you’re protecting against, check out this infographic: