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5 Steps to Help Parents Spot and Prevent Cyberbullying

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5 Steps to Help Parents Spot and Prevent Cyberbullying
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5 Steps to Help Parents Spot and Prevent Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a serious issue for children and teens these days, and parents can find themselves struggling to combat the effects. Knowing how to recognize when there’s a problem and how to prevent cyberbullying from happening is your best bet in protecting your children from negative online pressures. Here are a few tips to help parents prevent, spot, and stop cyberbullying from impacting their kids.

Talk to Kids About Peer Pressure and the Web

Peer pressure has always been part of the lives of children and young adults. With social media and the web connecting us around the clock, peer pressure can seem unavoidable. Children are more likely to be pressured into harmful activities, such as drug use and alcohol consumption when they are exposed to social media peer pressure. Pressure to fit in follows them home through the web and can have a negative impact on their lives. When your children are old enough to use the internet, talk to them about the dangers of peer pressure. Work to build their confidence so they will feel more comfortable saying “no” to classmates and people online.

Know How to Spot Signs of Cyberbullying

Knowing when your kids are being bullied online can be difficult. Children will often hide bullying from their parents and be embarrassed to talk about it with friends and family members. But there are some signs of cyberbullying that parents can spot. If your child grows easily agitated and moody and doesn’t want to go to school, he/she may be trying to avoid classmates who are bullying them online. If you notice them suddenly becoming more secretive or attached to their devices, there could be a problem as well. Take note of these changes and talk to your kids if you think they are being bullied online.

Make Social Media a Positive Place for Kids

Social media can be a great way for kids to connect and learn more about the world, but it’s up to you to create a positive social media experience from the beginning. First, know what age is appropriate for kids to have their own social media accounts. Make rules regarding their use, and make sure you have access to their accounts at all times. This may feel a bit intrusive, but staying involved in their social media activity can help you stay alert to any potential problems. Also, be sure to set boundaries when it comes to adding friends and following accounts. You should know who your kids are connected to at all times.

Limit Screen Time and Encourage Other Activities

When children and teens become too obsessed with the web and social media, it can set them up for problems. One way to help is to set limits on the amount of time they spend online. Encourage your children to get out and explore the world without their devices. Plan some fun family activities, or get them involved in afterschool activities that will allow them to connect with new friends and experiences. To keep them connected to you, but offline, while they are away, look into usage controls and tools that will limit the time they can stay connected when using their phones and devices.

Know When You Need to Get Help

Cyberbullying can take a serious toll on your child’s mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, and even suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens, and there is a strong connection between negative peer pressure and instances of suicide. If you notice signs of depression in your children, such as a loss of interest in their favorite activities or constant sadness, it’s important to seek help immediately. Excessive sleeping or sudden weight changes can be signs of an issue as well.

Keeping your kids safe is a challenge these days. Social media can expose children to peer pressure and bad influences like never before, so it’s important for parents to stay aware of the dangers. Know when cyberbullying is a problem and know when it’s time to get help.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Contributed by Guest Author: Janice Miller of safetytoday.org




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