|Photo by J_O_I_D (Flickr)|
Just as a refresher, cyber-bullying is loosely defined as any bullying that happens online. It can take many forms including insulting text or instant messages, identity theft and assumption and posting disparaging comments and pictures on people’s social media profiles.
In a new study by cyber-security firm Symantec (Children are 'more likely to be bullied online than in the playground', parents claim) nearly half of parents, or 48 percent, said they believed their children were more likely to be bullied online than on the playground. Not only does this reflect the changing times that we live in, the fact that I’m writing about this area to you on an online blog should be one indication, but this is a concern that should and is being addressed.
More than 75 percent of parents in the survey said they thought children were more exposed to online bullying than they were five years ago. Some of the numbers back that up. More than half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online and about the same number have engaged in cyber-bullying. http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html
Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or on the internet as well. Statistics from the Cyberbullying research center show that the last three years have seen the highest rates of cyber-bullying, though the rate has gone down from its high in 2014.
However the study also said despite these concerns more than a quarter of parents allow internet access to their children before 6 years old. Though at the same time 70 percent said technology should be used to monitor their children’s online experience.
There are simple things parents can do minimize their child’s risk of online bullying. Those include knowing your child’s online habits and not introducing them to the online world too early. It also means checking their online communications at times, either yourself or through a friend, and maintain open lines of verbal and in person communication between yourself and your children. Encourage your children to tell you if they think they or someone they know are being cyber-bullied and tell them you will not take their technology away if you think they are.
The delicate balance you need to reach with your children is to know what they are doing online while still respecting their privacy. If you try to pry too much, your children will not trust you and think you are trying to creep in on all parts of their lives. Always let them know you respect their communication and value their judgment, and are just trying to make sure they are safe. As an adult you have more power to do something about it if bullying happens than they do, and that is one reason parents need to be aware.
Cyber-bullying will probably be a problem as long as there is an internet, but taking simple steps can help prevent it from happening to your child or stopping it cold once it starts. Check out more cyber-bullying and traditional bullying resources at stopbullying.gov.
Learn about the author: Scott Roberts