How do I Block Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is considered one of the most harmful uses of technology affecting our youth today. Homeschooling your teen could help them avoid a bully physically, but what do you do when a bully chooses to torture your child on the Internet?
It can be hard to understand the intense pressure our children face in school as an adult sometimes. If your teen doesn’t come home with cuts or bruises, you may assume that everything in their personal life is just fine. But looks can be deceiving. As a mother of two teens, I know how important it is to keep my children safe and happy. Violent aggression among teens is becoming more and more commonplace nowadays. Even when your teen shows no signs of physical abuse, they could still be dealing with put-downs over the Internet from their classmates on a daily basis.
A Different Form of Aggression
Some bullies are clever enough to torture their classmates via social media sites. They can even do this without revealing their identity. Cyberbullying usually involves one or a group of people consistently posting negative comments, sexual rumors or insulting pictures about their victim via text messages, instant messaging, emails, social media websites, chat rooms, online threads, or some other electronic platform.
You may be surprised to learn that the worst part of the day for your teen happens way after the school bell rings. As soon as your teen logs onto their computer, they’re hit with countless posts about who doesn’t like them. There’s a sense of personal gratification when the bully or bullies gain a “following.” So this type of hate slinging can continue to go on for months without your knowledge.
Why Can’t My Teen Stop Reading Negative Messages?
As an adult, you may be thinking, Why can’t my teen just stop reading all the negative posts about them? Sometimes, we forget what it was like to be a teenager. Most kids need constant approval from their peers and will do just about anything to get it. And this is where things can spin out of control really fast.
Cyberbullying can be witnessed by potentially thousands of people. More likely than not, your teen will continue to read negative messages posted over and over again. The stress and anxiety your teen may feel will intensify as they see their reputation and popularity fade more and more among their peers which could make them more prone to read and post their own messages to defend themselves.
How Can I Help If My Teen is CyberBullied?
By now you may be desperate to know how to stop your child from being bullied online. Author Robin M. Kowlaski explains in detail about cyberbullying and various steps parents and educators can do in her book, Cyberbullying: Bullying in the Digital Age.
The second half of the book is actually quite thorough at explaining practical steps to avoid or counteract the psychological damage that can develop when your teen is cyberbullied.
Moreover, gay, lesbian and transgender teens are especially vulnerable to these types of attacks.
Helpful Tips You Can Use Now to Avoid CyberBullying
Taking proactive steps to stop online harassment of your teen delivers a strong message that you care about their feelings. Better yet, it enables your teen to move on and regain control. It’s important for you to realize that your teen may not feel comfortable talking to you about what they go through at school including on social media sites. So be alert to your teen’s online activities and don’t be afraid to ask them questions. The following tips can guide you on how to address cyberbullying:
Tip 1: Stopping cyberbullying can be as simple as turning off the PC or mobile device. You could also remove the computer out of your teen’s bedroom, remotely lock, or block your teen’s mobile device settings. your teen will likely have to use some electronic device to do schoolwork or stay in communication with you, your relatives and their friends. Encourage them to resist a response to any hate-filled or false messages written about them. Ignoring a cyberbully’s rants can sometimes be enough to make him or her leave your teen alone once they realize that their attacks aren’t getting any reaction.
Tip 2: Delete any cyberbullying messages your teen may receive. If your teen knows who their bully is, delete them from social media contact, block their email address, and cell phone number. It’s important to note that the cyberbully’s tactics may be in direct violation of their Internet service provider and any social media websites’ agreement of service terms.
Tip 3: Cyberbullying should be taken just as seriously as acts of violence. Save evidence of the cyberbullying, such as abusive or sexual text messages or website screenshots. Report this evidence to the police. Depending on your state’s laws, a cyberbully’s actions can warrant criminal charges.
Tip 4: Check out the website nobullying.gov to see additional suggestions on how to prevent and block cyberbullying.
Technology has taken the cruelty of traditional bullying to the next level. Cyberbullying affects as many as 33 percent of teenagers and can leave them feeling angry, guilty, hurt, humiliated, depressed, or even suicidal. It’s normal for all of us to be liked by others.
Build a foundation of trust with your teen and encourage them to associate with people who really care, appreciate and love them. This measure can help them feel more comfortable expressing any issues they might be dealing with online. Existing criminal harassment statutes can be used as a basis for a cyberbully’s prosecution, especially in cases where the offense results in suicide or some other tragic consequence.
But please don’t wait until something like this happens to your teen. Take proactive measures today to connect safely to the Internet and block cyberbullies from disrupting the peace in your home! Feel free to leave your comments below or Share on Facebook.