Cyberbullying has become a major issue that bothers many parents today. With a growing number of schoolchildren and teens experiencing this problem which are highlighted on social media, they can’t help but fear for the safety of their kids online and even offline.
A study by the Cyber Research Center has found that an estimated 20 percent of kids aged 10 to 18 have experienced some form of cyberbullying. Most affected were the middle school girls.
So what can parents and children do to protect themselves from these bullies using social media to hurt other people?
Do Not Reply
One of the first steps you can take is to avoid responding to the bully’s message. This may be difficult to do as normally instinct of a person being bullied is to immediately defend himself or herself. But do know that when you react and reply to a social media post or text message, you are only making the bully feel that he or she has power over you.
Do not even attempt to get even because this will only prompt the bully to respond more to your action. The best you can do is remove yourself from the situation.
Change Contact Info
When your child constantly receives rude messages through text or email, it is time to change his or her phone number and email address. Make sure then to share these new contact information only to people you trust.
Do change passwords on a regular basis as well. This applies to your social media accounts and even your smartphone. This should ensure that your child’s social media accounts are protected not only from bullies but even from hackers lurking around the web.
Save Those Messages
Bullies have this domineering personality that crave for attention. And with social media easily accessible these days, many of them have gone online to rant and attack their target audience. Psychologists say some of these bullies were once bullied themselves and are now doing the same to other people as an escape goat.
If your child experiences cyberbullying, it is a good idea to save all those messages sent to him or her whether via email, text or social media postst. This way, you have proof of those degrading messages that you can use as evidence in the event you decide to file legal charges or file a complaint with the law enforcement authorities. Speak to a personal injury lawyer about this issue so you can find out the steps to take and what to expect.
Report to the Social Networking Site
Social networking sites have guidelines as to how to use their platforms and they do not tolerate abusive behavior. This being the case, social media users can always report people who they believe are showing bad behavior. Admins can then take action and either issue a warning to the person concerned or remove their account after investigating the complaint.
On the part of the user, he or she can take action right away against the bully. The best option is to block the person harassing you using your personal computer or through the social media apps on your smartphone. This block feature will no longer let the bully send any message to his victim and he or she will also no longer be able to access the victim’s account.
In worse cases such as when you and your child receives threats of physical harm, report immediately to your local police. Do consider reporting the problem to your child’s school authorities as well.
Keep in mind that having an open communication with your child is very helpful in finding out what’s happening to him or her. Share information about cyberbullying with your kid including the steps he or she can do to stop the abusive behavior.