How to deal with cyberbullying

An old U.S marine once told me that going to war is sometimes necessary. Despite all the advances in technology, we can say with certainty that human behavior is predictable and that cyberbullying will never be fully eradicated. If you love your child, you must train them to standup for themselves when a bully confronts them and tell them that facing a bully head on is okay. In the new age of information, we need to teach our kids more life skills than anything else.

Why so many parents are afraid to speak about serious matters with their kids is beyond me. Cyberbullying isn’t going to magically go away but teen suicide rates because of bullying can decrease. We need to help our kids to defend themselves face-to-face rather than making them believe that young and immature kids will stop bullying them especially behind the walls of a social media platform. Kids need to develop strong social skills at an early age and not doubt themselves by what others say on-line. Tell your child: You are so much more than what others say in these social media environments.

All this technology is handicapping our children socially and making talented young minds be scared for life because of cyberbullying. We need to do something about this issue in a meaningful way. Here is my solution. First, start communicating with your children early on about the importance of developing courage and the inevitable reality that they one day will face opposition in life. Explain to them that technology will never protect them from the dangers of cyberbullying or any other bullying. Make sure you tell them that in this world, what they do with technology, not technology itself, is what will help them to be somebody one day.

Second, develop a TechnoModeration strategy for your kids. Enable them to use technology for a few hours each day for educational purposes up to 5th grade. Don’t give your kid their own smartphone before they reach the age of 13 under any circumstances. Install and tell your kids that you have installed TeenSafe on their smartphones and that you will be checking on their smartphone activity once in a while because you are the parent, period. If they give you a hard time about it you tell them, “Ok. You won’t have a smartphone then because I am the parent.” Remember, you are not your kid’s buddy. You are their parent.

Third, when your kid reaches the age of 15, have a conversation with them about sex. Explain that in this life there are tons of predators who want to take advantage of them including those who will bully them for self gratification. Affirm to them that chances are high that one day, somebody inevitably will say something on-line that they won’t like. Give them the assurance that they can and probably should let you know when that happens. Make a vow with them! As long as they use technology moderately, you will pay for their smartphone bill. If you have a difficult time conveying your message to them when they reach puberty, ask someone you trust, a close adult friend, to intervene.

Lastly, before they turn 18 make a deal with them. If anyone attempts to cyberbully them, tell them to ignore the message and ask them to come home. Have a chat with them about the situation and remind them that sticking to themselves is okay. Help them if necessary. The goal is to train them that they, not technology or any other person, control their lives and that you are there for them if they need help. I bet that our indices of suicide in teens among those who experience cyberbullying would decrease exponentially.

Ladies and gents, we can make great strides in cyberbullying by being involved parents. Helping our kids with conquering these cyber challenges is part of our job descriptions as parents. Be ready to coach your son or daughter in this highly technological world we live in these days. Cyberbullying is a problem but we can fix it. All we have to do is to be a bit more involved and pay attention to the early signs of abuse.

Advertisements

Snapchat: Ok For You To Use But Not Your Kids.

snapchat-logo-transparent

All right. Let me start this one by revealing this to you. I use snapchat. Why? Because I can share tidbits of information with my audience at ease, throughout the day, several times a week. However, I’m 44 years of age and know a bit about the consequences of technology overuse. Snapchat, in the hands of 13 year old kids, can be devastating. The first thing that comes to my mind when it comes to this app is cyberbullying. Even though the system is based on a self-destructing media policy, much damage can be done to a child by allowing him to be exposed to hateful messages at age 12 multiple times a day. This is what I think: It is appropriate for you to use. It isn’t appropriate for your kids to use it.

PD Rating: High Risk

Voxer: Digital Walkie Talkie Used In Cyberbullying.

Voxer_app_H

Voxer can be a good app for anyone who is trying to exchange short voice messages with friends and family. What is particularly attractive about this app for an adult is that people can leave voice messages to multiple people at the same time with ease. They just have to tap the play button and bingo! people can get your messages. My issue with this app is that it is a playground for cyberbullying. Leaving hurtful messages is way too easy which makes this app inappropriate for kids.

PD Rating: Medium Risk

Burn Note: Erasing Messages Away In Their DNA.

burn-note-logo

Secret messaging seems to be this app’s second name. Participating in secret chats is part of the culture of this app. How dangerous! I can see this App being used for cyberbully on a global scale. Like any app that erases things overtime, Burn Note erases content after a while but it doesn’t stop kids from capture screens shots of their actions. This app may be good for people who like to share content and let the system erase it after a while. Not sure if this if it is a good idea for kids to use this one.

PD Rating: High Risk.

HouseParty App: It Can Give You A Lot Of Headaches As A Parent.

s.aolcdn

Houseparty is a video chatting app that a lot of young teens use these days. It is a good group video for adults, I would say. For children — No. My issue with this app is that it doesn’t require kids to verify their age, it can be used for sexting and cyberbullying. Even if their private chats are locked, risk for sexual content and privacy issues can be significant.

PD Rating: Moderate Risk.