Every parent dreads the thought of their child being bullied online. But very few parents also think about the fact that their child could easily become a cyberbully.
Being the parent of a child on the aggressive end of cyberbullying is something that must be taken seriously. Here are some signs that indicate that your child may be doing this to others, with tips on what to do.
Children in today’s world grow up very knowledgeable about electronics. Often, children are more aware of what is happening online than their parents. It's vital to remain alert about the latest and greatest things in your child’s life if you want to come across as relevant to them, and keep them and those they interact with safe.
Learn about the online games they play and the apps they use to communicate. Talk to your child about what they are involved in, and stay aware of the latest cyber trends.
Monitor Your Child’s Electronic Activities Closely
Don’t allow your child unlimited freedom when it comes to online activities. Communicate to your child that you will be reading their texts, checking their online accounts and watching them occasionally as they participate in online games and forums.
Be cautious about allowing your child to have internet access in their room, and study how your child interacts with others online. If it seems that your child is aggressive in their communications with others, is using foul language directed at others, or mocking them, you need to bring up the conversation with your child about their tendencies to behave like a bully.
If you come across evidence that your child is bullying someone, take it seriously and deal with it immediately.
Install Parental Control Tools on All Electronic Devices
There are parental control tools that allow you to keep a close watch on your child when they are online. Instead of doing this secretly, make it known to your family that all online activities are subject to being viewed by parents at any time. This will prevent an erosion of trust between you and your child, and will help them to monitor themselves.
Some of these parental controls will even monitor conversations between your child and those they are interacting with, and will pick up on abusive dialogue which will then be reported to you.
Keep an Open Dialogue with Your Child
Hopefully from the time your child was very young, you have been keeping an open dialogue with them about all areas of their lives. As they get older, this includes online activities. Talk about cyberbullying and its dangers. Ask them if they have ever been a victim of it, or if they have felt they were ever bullying someone.
If you can maintain your composure while you engage in this conversation, your child may feel more able to open up to you about it.
Cyberbullying is a huge issue today. There is great freedom of the internet and many ways in which a person can use their electronic devices. This gives the opportunity for bullies to escape consequences for their actions, and causes dangerous growth in the epidemic of cyberbullying.
It is not easy to find out if your child is a cyberbully or to handle the information once you have acquired it, but it is necessary to work together to put a stop to it. By being a vigilant parent and making yourself aware of any cyberbullying your child may be engaging in, you are making the world a better and safer place for all.