Monday, October 11, 2010
According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, 40% of kids in the US say they’ve been bullied on the Internet. Cyberbullies are often kids that know your children so there is a connection to the physical world that makes cyberbullying a very real part of their existence. Cyberbullying can be detrimental to your child’s self-esteem and even lead to suicide.
What can parents do to help their children?
Dr. Michelle Borba, parenting expert and author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries put together eight ways to help your child through the experience of being cyberbullied so that they do not end up as a statistic.
- Keep an open dialogue with your child so they feel comfortable talking to you if something bad happens online. Listen carefully regarding their online experiences.
- Let your child know you believe them and will not stop helping them until they feel safe.
- Do not promise your kid that you “won’t tell”. You may need to step in.
- Save evidence. Print out the messages and do not delete them.
- Set up a meeting with your child’s school guidance counselor and teacher. Your child will need emotional support through this process.
- Create a “safety plan” for your child. Who can your child go to if they don’t feel safe? Find at least one adult staff member and one caring student that they can go to.
- Monitor your child’s emotional state closely. If they show any signs of depression or suicide, get the help of a counselor or a trained mental health provider immediately.
- If your child’s safety is at stake or the cyber attackers are vicious, contact authorities.
For more information please read more of Dr Borba’s articles on Cyberbullying at her blog Reality Check
Monday, September 27, 2010
The term Safety today goes far beyond the sheer physical sense. We used to teach our young children not to talk to strangers and to wear their seatbelt. The Internet, however, has become an integral part of our lives and we need to teach our children how to play safely online. The online world is vast and full of people, both real and chameleon like and it is our responsibility to make sure our children know the difference, so they are shielded from unwanted contacts and content. Here are a few tips for how to achieve this:
Get to know their "world”: Ask your kids to show you around, and play in their virtual worlds. Do it with them occasionally, not to spy on them, but to get to know the territory and find out what they're enjoying and why. See what their avatars look like and what screen names they've chosen to represent themselves. You can talk with them about what kind of message their profiles and avatars transmit about them. This is a great early lesson in new media literacy. See who their virtual friends are and what types of activities they like. Are these friends from school? If not, take the opportunity to talk about how people online aren't always who they seem to be. The No. 1 safety tip in all cases is "Talk with your kids".
Respect for self & others: Teach your child that those avatars in the Internet play-place are real human beings with feelings– they need to respect others' virtual property, privacy, and identity as much as in the real world. This is the beginning of digital citizenship, which is protective and empowering for them as they learn to navigate real and virtual social spaces. The same holds true for the child. Teach the children that they are not on their own. If anybody hurts them, they should approach you.
Read more tips by Anne Collier from ConnectSafely