What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the practice of bullying through electronic mediums such as social networking sites, and affects roughly one in five children in the United States. Bullying on social networks can quickly become viral, spreading to other sites and involving more and more children as the bullying continues.
Why Parents Should be Concerned
Parents should be concerned about Cyberbullying because it can quickly lead to increased feelings of isolation and persecution for some children. This can sometimes lock a child into a downward spiral, and has in some cases resulted in suicide. Cyberbullying is a very serious problem that all parents need to watch out for.
Cyberbullying affects one in five children in the United States
Cyberbullying can result in:
* feelings of persecution
Parental Alerts for Cyberbullying and their Children
Cyberbullying occurs mostly online. Parents who use parental internet control software can check online reports which can provide indicators that a child might be experiencing online cyberbullying. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, the most obvious signs involve a marked change in the child's computer habits, and parents will be able to see these changes as they occur through the reports.
Parental internet control software can also record posts on social networks containing custom keywords or phrases that the parent chooses, and will also record any posts containing profanity, common when children are either doing the cyberbullying or responding to it.
Use of abusive words and profanity is common with cyberbullying
Educate their children about online safety
* Teach their children to exhibit good online manners
* Be aware of what sites a child or teen is accessing
* Keep the computer out of the child's bedroom and in a public area of the home
* Install parental internet control software
* Educate themselves on cyberbullying and all aspects of online safety
Parents and Cyberbullying: Unconditional Support
Once parents have the information they need to spot a problem with Cyberbullying, there are a few steps recommended by the Cyberbullying Research Center. They recommend that parents do not ban use of the Internet or the computer, but instead convey unconditional support to the child, and consult the child and teachers or school administrators about the problem.
If Cyberbullying is suspect, parents should also confer with the child's guidance counselor. It may likely be a classmate in school who is responsible for Cyberbullying, perhaps even using the school computers to do so. The administrators in the school will most likely take it seriously, and if there is a child who is responsible for Cyberbullying in school, he will be banned from using the school computers.
Articles Related to Cyberbullying and Parents
Parental Internet Software Reviews
Internet Safety - Notes from Newark Public School Conference
Child Online Safety U.S. Government information page, from Carnegie Mellon University.
How to Teach Your Child to Use the Internet Wisely
Youtube and Teens Parental Internet Software