From childhood up until teenage years, growing children can oftentimes experience some of the most difficult struggles they will face in their lifetimes. This isn’t because worse things tend to happen to teens, or even necessarily because teenagers are in an odd flux between parental dependence and independence. Rather, this is because the teenage brain is still growing, meaning that the teenagers’ experience is interpreted by an inherently flawed mind, that tends to magnify or distort situations that might not even be problematic.
Of course, situations that are problematic present an even greater risk to teens. One problem faced by today’s teens unique to current and future generations is cyberbullying. While this is a new problem, it isn’t an insignificant one. When problems like this can take up all of a teen’s even start effecting their education and social lives.
That’s why, without being too intrusive of course, parents should step in where possible to combat cyberbullying. This can range from running monitoring software to interacting with your child on social media. In either case, teens shouldn’t be left to their own devices online. While they should have some freedom, it should be moderated freedom rather than unbridled access to the limitless content of the web.
How to Recognize Cyberbullying
If you think your child might be facing their own cyberbully, but is too nervous or embarrassed to tell you, consider their online habits. Both increased and decreased usage of the internet could be the result of cyberullying, depending on your child’s individual case. Any offbeat or dejected emotions accompanying a change in internet usage patterns could be an indicator of cyberbullying.
What to Do About Cyberullying
Below are tips for parents of children who are being cyberbullied:
Teach confidence. While this can’t be the entirety of your cyberbullying prevention strategy, raising confident kids will better equip them to deal with bullies, both physical and digital, when the time comes.
Create safe spaces at home. By designating zones at home where technology is forbidden, children will feel that they have the capability to escape their bully. This is one way to support a cyberbullied teen without facing the issue directly.
Monitor Your Child’s Friend Requests. A good amount of the time, the bullies online are ones who your teen barely knows. This makes it easier for them to act in malicious ways. By encouraging your teen to only accept friend request from friends they truly know, this situation can be better avoided.
Save evidence. If it comes down to needing to involve the school or parents, take advantage of technology and save evidence. This will make things far easier down the line.
Helping Your Child
At the end of the day, your goal as a parent is to make sure your child is safe and content online. This can be a delicate balance, due to the fact that modern children and teens interact socially online nowadays. Limiting their internet use too much can put a damper on what may otherwise be a healthy, digital social life.
Ultimately, you should treat bullying online like bullying in person. While you can’t prevent them from encountering bullies in the real world, you can equip them to deal with the problem.
For more information, see the infographic below.