If you are a parent, teacher, student, or teen, you are probably concerned about cyberbullying or have experienced a form of cyberbullying online. Whatever the case may be, we all need to educate ourselves and learn how to prevent cyberbullying as responsible Internet users. We should also take some steps to stop cyberbullying, as soon as we encounter it.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is just like any other form of verbal abuse or harassment. Except that the bullies use digital technologies like social media, messaging or gaming platforms, and mobile phones. Cyberbullying can include spreading lies or posting embarrassing photos of someone online, sending hurtful messages or threats, impersonating someone and acting badly using their identity, and more.
While face-to-face and cyberbullying often go hand-in-hand, cyberbullying leaves a digital record that can be used as evidence. The best way to stop cyberbullying is to use this evidence against the perpetrator, especially since new laws are being added to prosecute online abuse.
How to Prevent Cyberbullying as a Parents
No one wants their child to experience any form of bullying, but many parents aren’t familiar enough with the phenomenon to teach their children how to avoid cyberbullying. It’s certainly not something they would have experienced during their own childhoods. However, one of the best ways to prevent cyberbullying is to educate yourself so that you can prepare your child.
Foster Good Communication
Most parents hope that their children would speak to them if they experience bullying, but that might not be the case. It’s important to foster a culture of communication within your home and not to respond with anger or judgment when your child opens up to you.
Talk about Cyberbullying
You can help your children identify cyberbullying by giving them examples. Cyberbullying is often passed off as a joke or just harmless passive-aggressive comments. Ask your child what they think cyberbullying is and how to react to it.
Give Your Child Strategies to Respond
It’s important not to leave children to “sort it out by themselves”. Online harassment can be amplified and much more harmful than the playground name-calling you may have grown up with. Give them coping mechanisms and verbiage to use when they encounter bullying.
Monitor Online Activity
Monitoring apps allow you to view your child’s social media activity and text messages. You can block their phone remotely too if you need to. Let your child know you will be monitoring them as a condition of having a phone. Respect their privacy and don’t abuse the privilege, but keep an eye out for red flags.
Know which apps children are using and how these platforms can be abused. You should understand the platform’s cyberbullying policies and how to block, report, and trace abusers. You should also have a conversation with your child’s school about their cyberbullying policies and know the reporting lines at the school if something crops up.
How To Stop Cyberbullying as a Student
As a student, you know how dangerous and prevalent cyberbullying can be. It’s important to protect yourself and have a plan of action in place.
Protect Your Passwords
Always log out of shared computers and change your password regularly to keep your accounts safe and private.
Keep Photos PG
Don’t post or send racy photos that you don’t want to become public knowledge. More than one teenager (and adult!) has been in a situation where they’ve placed their trust in the wrong person, only to have their intimate photos shared online.
Keep Accounts Private
It can be tempting to add followers left, right, and center in an age where being an influencer is a valid career choice and badge of honor, but you should be discerning about who you add and your privacy settings.
If an anonymous person is harassing or bullying you online. Then, you can look them up using a cellphone lookup service like Radaris.com and trace the culprit. Don’t hesitate to get law enforcement or your school involved. If you want to know how to prevent cyberbullying, you have educated yourself and your family about what it is and how to take action.