By Aniya Wells, Guest Contributor to TechAddiction
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily the views of TechAddiction and/or Dr. Conrad.
Cyber bullying has been a hot topic in the news for the past year. More children have access to and are using social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, to communicate with their peers, giving bullies the opportunity to do their damage on the playground and in cyberspace.
Although most instances of cyber bullying don’t result in anything more than temporary hurt feelings, some cases have left victims permanently humiliated and broken and have even driven a small number of children to suicide.
Because there is a slight potential for serious psychological and physical harm, it is best for parents with children who use social networking sites to educate them on internet security and how to keep themselves from falling victim to cyber bullying.
Listed below are five important things every parent should tell their children:
1. Select the most stringent security settings: Your child may not be aware that, unless they have selected the highest security settings, everything they post on the internet will be made public to everyone. Remind them that they should only share photos and comments with those whom they have selected as friends. If necessary, go to your child’s page with them and secure their settings for them.
2. Less information is better: For privacy and security purposes, make sure that they only share their first and last name, birth month and day (no year) and state of residence to the public. This is enough information for their friends to find them, but not enough information to threaten their security from identity thefts and child predators.
3. Choose the same friends online as you would in the community: Remind them that they should only be online friends with people they know personally in reality. On top of that, if your child has experienced bullying from a particular person at school or in the community, they should avoid becoming “friends” with that person online. This is often the number one way cyber bullying gets its start.
4. Don’t be afraid to “de-friend”: If your child was once friendly with someone who is now bullying them online, tell them that it is perfectly OK to delete that person from their friend list. In addition, make sure your child knows how to remove defamatory remarks about them from their page.
5. Limit your time on the web: The less time they spend on social networking sites, the less presence they will have on those sites. If this is the only way they currently communicate with their friends, encourage them to use private messaging instead of posting messages for everyone to see.
Lastly, if your child is currently experiencing persistent cyber bullying, chances are they are experiencing this bullying at school, as well. Ask them to immediately terminate all use of their social networking pages and set up a meeting with a school counselor to discuss the problem. Give your child all the support they need and remind them that bullies never speak the truth.
Guest Author Bio
Aniya Wells is a freelance blogger whose primary focus is writing about online degree programs. She also enjoys investigating trends in other niches, notably technology, traditional higher education, health, and small business. Aniya welcomes reader questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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5 Ways to Protect Your Child from Cyber Bullying