We’re raising our children in a different world today. We’re living in a more connected world thanks to the digital age. While technology has it’s valuable place in our life also connects us ways that can be frightening as a parent. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center over 80 percent of teens use a cell phone regularly. It’s the most popular form of tech for teens and it’s also a popular medium for cyber bullying.
Cyber bullying affects many adolescents and teens on a daily basis. It’s the use of mediums like cell phones and laptops to bully or harass another person. Some of the statics are truly frightening. According to the Hartford County Examiner, around half of teens have been the victims of cyber bullying but only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber bully victim – and fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement.
As parents, what can we do? Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs. That’s an unreal number. The first step is opening the channels of communication. As parents this can be an overwhelming topic as technology is such a prevalent part of our everyday lives. AVG Technologies and Childnet International partnered to publish an interactive e-book series, Magda and Mo, to help parents and children navigate tricky Internet safety topics such as cyberbullying and safe searching.
Once the discussion as began it’s a good time to set some ground rules.
- Keep the computer in a common area of the home where online usage can be monitored.
- Join the social networking websites your children use like Facebook and Twitter. Discuss guidelines for usage, safe content and appropriate social sharing. See who their friends are. Is there anyone you don’t know?
- Discuss it regularly. One the channels of communication are open regularly let your children know they can come to you for help.
- Create boundaries. Set time limits and discuss rules. Allow your kids to voice their opinions, they’re more likely to follow rules if they have a say.
- Treat situations carefully. Tell your children not to respond to any cyberbullying threats or comments online. Understand that these comments are hurtful and most often it’s not a matter of “kids will be kids.” The effects of cyber bullying are very real and damaging.
- Check out free software like AVG PrivacyFix to help control and lock-in your privacy on your PC, mobile device and tablet. They offer personal, easy-to-use dashboard, you’re able to monitor and adjust your privacy settings online and prevent third parties from tracking your activities and location. You can download it for free.
This post is written on behalf of AVG Technologies through the Mom It Forward Network by me. All opinions are 100% mine.