A parental guide to cyber bullying, and just bullying

Bullying is just that; it’s only in more recent years that ‘cyber bullying’ has become prevalent. Bullying is bullying, irrespective of age it’s been in society for as long as you wish to consider. But it does leave a nasty taste in your mouth!

Cyber bullying or just bullyingNo parent wishes to learn that their child is being bullied, be it physically, mentally or in the virtual world. The following is a proactive guide for any parent or carer; it’s simple and jargon free to enable you to become cyber safety smart parent.

The guide …..

Communication is paramount, any parent should be able to discuss bullying in an open manner with their child.  Though in doing so, you need to discuss ground rules which should be reviewed periodically and yes it will have to be in a disciplined manner, certainly from the parental perspective.

It’s important to raise the subject of bullying frequently and the parent would be able to judge this better than anyone else. The integrity of one’s child is an important factor, by good communication can you then judge if something is untoward.

Devices

The use of a desktop computer, laptop or iPad I proffer will be done on a network within the home. A question for all parents, ‘Is your network securely configured?

The parent should have overall administrative rights and it’s them that will configure their children’s device. Using ‘User Accounts’ in your ‘Control Panel’, you can:

  • Set time limits
  • Set limits on which websites your child could visit
  • Set restrictions on media, games and applications; and
  • Managing your child’s requests.

An ongoing feature is that you can have reports on their activity, by turning ‘On’ weekly reporting.  Here you’ll be advised of:

  • Web browsing
  • Applications and games; and
  • A breakdown of their time activity.

You can go as far as to keep an eye on their purchases, by:

  • Adding money to your child’s bank account
  • Removing options from payment accounts; and
  • An overview of what they purchased.

So if your child has or tried to compromise, what you’ve openly created it’s openly a few click’s away for you to exercise discipline. But, it’s your discipline that must be exercised and do those weekly reports. You can also consider using a spying software to spy and control your youngsters’ online activities, one spy tool that I can recommend is mSpy.

Home WiFi

Given today’s technology and Internet of Things (IoT), it’s highly likely that you would have WiFi for your home.  Therefore, all your devices, adult and children will be configured to use WiFi.

It’s critical that you ensure that it’s secured, which will stop anyone using your WiFi for free! Of equal importance is that you are protecting your family, the internet is a fantastic repository, but it does have a very dark side to it.

If you’re not sure or need any help, then you must ask.  You don’t ask, you don’t get!

Symptoms

In 8 – 11 year olds state the 74% bullying occurs in their schools each day. Or 160,000 children miss school each day due to bullying, according to the National Education Association.

Bullying symptoms could be:

  • Name calling, threatening, teasing, or exclusion at school
  • The imbalance of power, i.e. popularity
  • Social or physical harm; or
  • Actual harm in order to achieve something.

Children who are bullied could be:

  • Doing poorly in school
  • Their self esteem is low
  • Be potentially depressed; and
  • Turn to violence because of the bullying, out of character.

Bullies are more likely to:

  • Drink alcohol or smoke, trying to be big
  • Do poorly in school; or
  • Be committing crimes now or in the future.

As a parent you need to take ownership and take a key role, prevention and stopping is the key factor. So the parent could do:

  • Be positive when giving feedback when they do well, in turn this will build their self esteem. Give them self confidence to stand-up for what they believe in
  • Teach resolution, but without violence
  • Be serious in your ownership, the child will pick up on this as your being positive
  • Discuss their day, the positives and negative, be open
  • If you see bullying, be positive as you only get one chance
  • Do encourage your child to help other, being positive; and
  • Don’t ridicule others in front of your children, negative breeds negative outcomes.

Is your child a victim of bullying?

When a child is being bullied it’s hard for them to open up, they don’t know what to do or who turn to!

Significant signs that you’d be on the lookout for are:

  • Withdrawal
  • Loss of friends
  • Torn clothes
  • Drop in grades or poor school reports
  • Potential increases in mobile phone bills
  • Bruising; or
  • Unusual requests for money.

Should your child tell you they’re being bullied or there is a strong suspicion that bullying is a problem, you’re the best solution for resolution. Things you could do to address the situation are:

  • Speak with your children’s teacher or head teacher
  • Be open with your child and gain their confidence
  • Don’t encourage your child to fight back
  • Do encourage your child to be more security conscious with their mobile phone
  • Discuss with your child about using the ‘Delete’ key on their computers
  • Talk with you mobile phone provider or broadband provider, discuss the situation and gain collaboration
  • Ultimately, speak with the police and get advice; or
  • Speak with the bullies parents.

When your child is a bully!

In the norm of things, conversely no parent wishes to find out that their child is a bully. Parents of a bully are the best resource for resolution. Consider:

  • They’re a bad loser
  • Like being aggressive
  • Likes to be number 1 most of the time
  • Lacking in empathy and shuns empathizing
  • Are they a bad loser
  • Always like to be in charge of things at home or in the school
  • Impulsive by character; and
  • Fights with their siblings.

How could a parent of a bully, stop bullying:

  • Do treat seriously, this won’t be a passing phase, and probably there will be other victims
  • Have open discussions with your child and make it a continual process
  • Help your child to build empathy
  • Discuss the situation with the teachers of the bully, gain their help
  • Ask why are they doing this; and
  • Be patient, don’t fight fire with fire!

Conclusion

By discussing all of these areas with your child, your being open and upfront, so you are not hiding anything. They will be aware of limitations, and should they need to have any changes made, maybe for homework, all they have to do is ask and this will give them confidence and build their self esteem.  Trust is built and this critical.

The worst case I’ve come across, when a victim’s mother came home from work and found her child hanging in the hallway.  This is a very serious subject!

Top/Featured Image: By Jedidja / Pixabay

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A parental guide to cyber bullying, and just bullying

by Howard Smith time to read: 4 min
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