59% of American teens report having experienced cyberbullying in some form or another. Once a side-lined problem, cyberbullying is now known to cause depression and trigger other serious mental health issues among millions of American children, including bulimia, suicide and crime.
Any of these could be about to happen to your child right now because he or she is just as prone to cyberbullying as any other child. Experts suggest that parents can avert cyberbullying and its effects by getting involved. Let us explore the ways you can do this for your child.
Keep an eye on the apps they use
For children of a particularly young age, the best way to protect against cyberbullying is by knowing the apps they are using and who they are talking to. Cyberbullying can happen on any website, app or platform and in the last way you might expect.
Smart parents protect their kids by staying alert regarding each one of these channels. Start by managing the password to their phone, especially if they are quite young. You can then visit each app and website they’ve visited when they’ve gone to bed to weed out any cyberbullying.
Alternatively, use the Phone Tracker app to track your child’s movements across every app, website and platform remotely and in real-time. Once you have it installed on their phone, you can see their location and movements, which is better for safety. The Phone Tracker app is fully legal and used by thousands of parents across the country.
Talk about cyberbullying with your child
Sometimes, it’s best to be open with your child about important issues like cyberbullying. Experts recommend that to protect your child better, you need to teach them to protect themselves. For tackling cyberbullying, the best way to do this is by teaching your children what it is all about.
Show them examples of cyberbullying, complete with the side effects that make it dangerous. Make sure to highlight how they can protect themselves when it happens, and implore them to always confide in you when that happens. Children that are more aware of cyberbullying know to identify it and report it before it’s too late.
Spot behavioral changes such as extended silence
Numerous studies on children’s behavior have shown that behavioral changes in children almost always mean something, and parents need to be keen on them. Cyberbullying is one of many forms of bullying that trigger behavioral changes in children.
If your smartphone-using child is suddenly seeking more isolation, growing silent or withdrawing from family life, take note. The chances are that he or she is experiencing cyberbullying and having trouble processing the situation.
The same applies to sudden changes like dyeing hair, random shifts to emo or goth looks and more. This can be a response to cyberbullying and the child needs to be talked to.
Limit the number screen time
A method that many parents everywhere use to avert cyberbullying is the internet time restriction. It involves restricting internet usage on children’s phones to only a few hours a day and, in some cases, to a few apps.
Parents make sure to control their kid’s phones remotely to make turning off data easy. While it may not curb cyberbullying entirely, it can limit the extent of the damage until parents find out and take control.
Encourage regular talks about the child’s online life
The best households are those where parents talk to their children freely about many topics, while keeping in mind the right age to talk to a child. This process comes in handy with cyberbullying because the child can disclose any usual situations they are undergoing online to their parents in frank discussions. Parents can encourage these discussions by sharing their own adult scenarios first.