Top Five Ways Parents can Help Prevent Cyberbullying
1. Monitor your child’s Internet use- Checking their browsing history isn’t enough because it can be easily erased or not recorded at all. Parental control or monitoring software is the best option because it tracks every move your child makes online.
2. Make careful decisions about which online networks you allow your child to join. Pay close attention to news and media buzz surrounding the site, and read the site’s recommended age restrictions. Parents should join the networking site before they allow their kids to so they can make first-hand decisions about whether they feel it is appropriate or not.
3. Talk with your child about building and maintaining a good online reputation. Some kids are simply picked out of the blue as a target for bullies. Other times they bring it upon themselves by provoking it and by engaging in behavior that invites cyberbullying into their lives. Remind your child that the Internet is never anonymous, and that anything they put online is visible to everyone. Provide guidelines about what is acceptable online behavior and what is considered risky behavior that could potentially invite unwanted attention.
4. Check out what their peers are doing online. See what their classmates and friends are doing on social network sites and which ones they’re using. Besides checking just Facebook and MySpace, visit newer social sites like formspring.me and stickydrama.com. These sites are targeted to the 10-14-year-old age group and can be breeding grounds for cyberbullying. Talk with your child and let them know that even if they are mature enough to use social networking sites responsibly, the same can’t
always be said of their peers.
5. Teach your child to lead by example. Talk to your kids about the harm cyberbullying can cause, and teach them to be nice to kids online. Teach them that just because their peers are being mean to someone doesn’t make it okay for them to jump on the bandwagon. Tell them to walk away from groups of kids who have started cyberbullying instead of dragging it out further and making the situation worse.
Go to the Internet Safety blog at blog.internetsafety.com to get more information on how to detect if your child has become the victim of cyberbullying and and how to respond if your child is being bullied.