Cyberbullying is a very real threat and in extreme cases it has been linked to self-harm and even suicide. Even ‘mild’ bullying can damage a child’s fragile self-esteem and make them anxious and worried all the time. If you are a parent you need to be keeping a keen eye on what your child is up to online. If you work in a school you have a responsibility to monitor internet usage to make sure bullying is not happening during school hours.
Cyberbullying comes in many forms such as teasing, harassing, intimidating and name-calling. It is very commonly carried out over instant messaging, social networking and emails. Cyber bullies can be male or female, and can be any sort of age group. They spread gossip, they threaten and manipulate, and they need to be stamped out. Here’s how to monitor it:
Children need to be educated in the ways of handling people. They should be taught to treat people the way they would want to be treated themselves, especially online. They should be shown the consequences of their actions, and they should be aware of what ‘constitutes’ bullying in the first place. Children learn by example, and as we all know, adults can be capable of bullying too. Don’t behave in a way that you wouldn’t want your children or your pupils to behave in.
Internet Usage Monitoring
It’s a sad fact of today’s society that in order to police the internet, a certain degree of spying is involved. Parental controls should be switched on, and set to the highest degree of security. Keylogging software should also be installed so that you have access to a constant log of internet activity. Should anybody make bullying allegations, you will have all the information and evidence you’ll need in order to follow it up. Reports should be monitored on a regular basis and anything untoward should be dealt with immediately. You need to know that you are doing everything you can to keep the children as safe as possible, and if a little spying is what it takes to stop bullying, then so be it.
Set the Rules
Both families and schools need rules to which everybody adheres. Make the rules clear – you will never ever tolerate anyone being cruel or getting involved in cyberbullying. Another rule should be that if someone is being the victim of cyber bullies they need to be able to report it as soon as possible, knowing they will be protected and the issue will be followed up. Make the rules fair and well communicated so that everybody knows what is expected of them.
Cyberbullying may never be stamped out altogether but there is plenty that you can do to limit it. The key to nipping it in the bud is to make sure everyone knows that it will not be tolerated, and if it is uncovered then the perpetrators will be severely punished. Promote kindness and consideration in your school and home and encourage your children to be as nice to people as possible, whether online or in person.
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Today’s guest author, Jim Powell, is a software reviewer at Well Researched Reviews, a software reviewing firm. He is a nature lover and an environmentalist and works towards makings this a greener planet in his spare time.