As a parent, it is challenging to keep your child safe in today’s digital age. With online harassment on the rise, it’s essential that parents understand how to prevent cyberbullying.
In this blog post, we will provide an in-depth guide for parents to help them learn more about cyberbullying. Plus, we’ll share practical strategies they can implement to prevent it from occurring with their own kids. We’ll discuss the different types of cyberbullying, preventive measures you should take as a parent to protect against bullies, and effective communication techniques you can use if faced with a bullying
Whether your child has already been affected by cyberbullying or is likely at risk due to being regularly exposed to technology-fueled influences—our comprehensive guide will offer guidance and concrete steps that are applicable both now and into the future!
Bullying poses a challenge and often blurs the line between offline bullying and the digital versions of it (cyberbullying). Although both types of bullying have the same objectives, there are distinct differences between them.
Cyberbullying involves the use of technology or social media to transmit hurtful messages or images that can reach a large audience quickly, sometimes appearing anonymously. Offline bullying, also known as 'traditional' bullying, is more localized and personal in contrast. While physical contact might play a part in traditional bullying, posture and body language are tools used to intimidate too.
One major difference is that cyberbullying has greater reach and can happen 24/7. As opposed to face-to-face bullying which usually ends once the parties no longer share common ground. With cyberbullying, it is much more difficult to avoid contact when texts, messages, or images can be sent continuously. In this sense, cyberbullying is arguably less tangible, but can be just as damaging when unchecked. The immediacy of the internet means young people are exposed to cyberbullying from a particularly early age.
What are the causes of cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is becoming more rampant, and unfortunately, it can be difficult to pinpoint the precise causes. Often, perpetrators feel like they can hide behind the screen and be anonymous while they dole out hurtful comments. A lack of understanding of what constitutes as cyberbullying may further create an environment where these harmful activities are encouraged. The anonymity offered allows people to feel at ease sending out cruel messages without fully absorbing the repercussions.
Poor impulse control paired with technological advances also means that remarks can be made quickly and without a filter. Additionally, if a kid “feels wronged” by another person, revenge in the form of cyberbullying may serve as an outlet. Finally, a lack of parental supervision can cause kids to bully others online without knowing the consequences.
In sum, a variety of factors combine to cause cyberbullying; it is obvious that prevention begins with understanding (and thwarting) this complex issue.
8 Examples of cyberbullying
These are the different types of cyber bullying:
Harassment is the general term used to describe cyberbullying. Harassment encompasses any hateful or cruel behavior displayed electronically, such as through social media or messaging apps. It can be verbal, including bullying messages and threats, but it can also take the form of posting images or videos.
One thing that makes online harassment hard to stop is that it often goes unnoticed by adults. Kids may be reluctant to report online abuse or may not realize they are being harassed. This can lead to emotional damage for the victims of online bullying and can leave them feeling helpless.
Cyberstalking is a type of online harassment that is used to threaten or manipulate someone's safety. It can include stalking an individual through their digital devices, monitoring their online activity, or sending intimidating messages.
This type of cyberbullying can also end up in physical bullying since perpetrators can track their victims to the point of going to where they are. This is possible because, on social media, kids can post their location.
Online impersonation of kids is an ever-growing problem that can have serious consequences. It involves taking on their identity online, forcibly entering private conversations and posts, publicly shaming them, and stealing passwords and personal information.
Additionally, it can also be more serious, such as setting up false accounts and email addresses for someone else. Finally, it can implicate creating and sharing inappropriate content that purports to be associated with the victim.
Online outing is an activity that is becoming increasingly common among kids and teens. It involves intentionally exposing protected or private information about a person that was not voluntarily shared with the public. This could include details within a personal profile post or comments made in private conversations.
However, the most common form of outing is when someone shares the sexual orientation or gender identity of another individual. This can include unintentionally sharing a ‘clue’ about an individual’s identity through social media posts or by messaging them.
Online exclusion involves the deliberate act of excluding a person from an online conversation or activity. It can take many forms, including ignoring messages, making fun of another person's opinion, or excluding someone from activities
The effects of online exclusion can be serious, including feelings of rejection and isolation, low self-esteem, depression, and anger.
Trickery is similar to outing, however, in this situation the perpetrator pretends to be a “friend” so the kid can share with them their personal information. Once they build enough trust and the bully has everything they need, they share what they learned online.
Online trolling is a disturbing form of cyber-harassment where internet users, typically found in comment sections, forums, or social media channels, post deliberately offensive and controversial content for their own amusement. It is often done anonymously, with malicious intent, such as harassing someone or spreading hate speech.
Individuals that engage in this practice are typically referred to as “trolls”. Trolls usually seek to annoy, provoke, disturb and discredit other online users.
This is a form of online exploitation in which an adult creates a false identity and poses as a child or teen. This fake persona often appears attractive, friendly, and engaging in order to gain the attention of vulnerable children. The predator then convinces the child to start a personal relationship with them by offering love and care that they may not be receiving at home.
Once they have formed this bond, they will attempt to take advantage of the victim by asking for personal information
As a parent, one of the main keys to preventing cyberbullying is to stay aware and alert:
It is helpful to regularly discuss online safety with your child, making sure they know to never share personal information such as their address or phone number.
Additionally, monitor their online activities and make sure they are not engaging in any kind of online communication that may not be appropriate.
It is also important to encourage your child to show respect for others at all times.
Educating them on the importance of online safety, such as watching what they post and who they communicate with online, can go a long way in preventing cyberbullying.
Speaking with them about the negative impacts of cyberbullying will make them think before engaging in this type of behavior.
Remind your child that if they ever witness or experience cyberbullying, to tell you immediately.
Let them know that blocking, flagging, and reporting content can help address cyberbullying swiftly. Also, discuss with your child where they can find these reporting tools through the platforms they are using.
Make sure to talk to them about their online life. Also, create an open space for them to tell you anything that could be happening there.
Cyberbullying and kids: Final thoughts
Cyberbullying is a problem that can have devastating consequences for kids, who are often not equipped to handle the attacks. It is our responsibility as parents to take action and create environments where our kiddos feel safe and supported. We must also teach them empathy and communication so that they know how to engage responsibly with one another.
The more we do now to educate ourselves and equip our children with the right tools, the better prepared we will be to face the looming challenge of cyberbullying in a rapidly changing digital landscape.
If you want to keep learning about online dangers for kids and how to avoid them, visit our blog section! In Boo’s Battalion, we are sharing lots of helpful information to help parents navigate through the online world.