Bully-Proof Your Kid
Your children may become victims of cyber bullying without you even knowing it, as you may not be able to monitor their online activities 24/7. Here’s how you can “bully-proof” your kids, so that they can learn to stand up for themselves:
- Stop – Teach your children to stop what they are doing if they encounter something that makes them feel uncomfortable, fearful or hurt. Cyber bullies are often looking for victims who will react to their hurtful antics.Understanding how bullies think and behave will help your child gain some control over the situation. Creating such awareness will also help in managing your child’s negative thoughts, including blaming themselves for antagonising the bully. They can then recognise what is appropriate or inappropriate behaviour and do something about it, rather than feel helpless and afraid.
- Block – One of the best ways your children can deal with cyber bullies is to cut off all lines of communication. The less contact the cyber bullies have, the fewer opportunities they have to hurt your children.Most communication tools and social media platforms offer users a feature that can be used to block specific people from their contact lists, so do let your children know about this.
- Save – Teach your children to save all evidence of cyber bullying – preferably in both hard and soft copies – because they can be used to bring the cyber bullies to justice, if there is a need to. The evidence can be used as a powerful tool to hold the bully accountable for his or her acts.This will help them gain confidence and control over the situation. It also teaches them all actions have consequences and they need not be afraid of telling others what they have experienced.
- Tell – Your children should not have to suffer alone. Therefore, it is important you let them know that rather than keeping everything to themselves, they can tell a trusted adult (parents or teachers) any time they are caught in a cyber bullying situation. Assure them there are people around who care deeply for them. Even if things may not sound right, no one is there to judge them.It may be extremely painful for them to talk about it, but it can help to relieve some of the tension that has built up in them. It will also allow you to give them the help and support they need.
- Report – If the previous tips cannot successfully stop cyber bullying, your children need to report the cyber bullies to the relevant authorities, including parents and teachers. If cyber bullying goes as far as threatening their personal safety or defaming their reputation, then it may be wise to report the case to the police as well.
Cyber bullying is a serious issue that can affect your children emotionally, psychologically and sometimes even physically. Therefore, it needs to be stopped not just by parents like you, but also by your children themselves.
Give them examples of how bullies have been taken to task over what they have done. Seeing how victims have been protected through legal or other means will give them hope.
Explain to them there are also disciplinary measures (in school) and legislations (Harassment Act) in place to protect them from cyber harassment.