From celebrities to students, cyberbullying happens way too often. One way that we as a society can take a stand against the bullies is to empower the bystanders, or those who witness cyberbullying. There is a stigma in our culture about “being a snitch,” so students feel that they can’t report bullying instances. We need to share the message that it is ok to stand up to bullies. It is ok for students to tell an adult if they see someone getting bullied.
Netsmartz.org gives the following advice for bystanders:
- Don’t encourage bullying behavior – For example, don’t “like” or share mean comments and posts.
- Don’t participate in the bullying just to fit in.
- Stand up for the victim – You can offer support through actions such as sending a friendly text message, making a positive post on their page or walking with them in the hallway.
- Report the bullying to the website or service provider and to an adult you trust.
Several students at an elementary in Bridgewater, Massachusetts saw a friend getting bullied, and they decided to take a stand. Check out the following link to here to hear their story.
It is amazing the things that we can do as we work together to uplift and encourage each other.
It’s difficult to know as a parent how to help your kids stay safe while they are socializing on social media. The decisions they make today, could make a big difference in their future. For example, students have been arrested for things they have posted on social media. The students claimed they were just joking around, but law enforcement had to take their posts seriously.
Here is an article that lists 12 things students should never do on social media. This is a great guide for you to follow as you teach your kids how to avoid building a negative reputation online. Going a step further and teaching your kids how to build a positive reputation online could mean the difference between whether or not they get into the college of their choice.
It used to be that parents would worry about predators meeting their child in the park. Predators go to where the kids are, and lots of kids are now online. Also, predators can reach more kids in more areas online. Predators used to try and lure a child into a car by using candy, puppies, or saying that the child’s parents said it was ok to pick them up.
Now predators use other techniques to win a child’s trust. Predators win kids trust through a process we call grooming. They will tell the child that they have the same interests as them, they may send them gifts, and they will sometimes say that they are the same age as the child. Predators manipulate kids emotions to make them feel guilty or ashamed about telling a parent. They will often talk to kids about adult subjects and ask them to send revealing pictures or videos, which they will use to blackmail the child into doing more.
It is important to keep an open line of communication with your child. Regularly chat with them about what they like to do online, and who they are talking with online. From a parents’ perspective grooming will look a bit different.
Here are some signs of grooming from Netsmartz.org you should look for. Check if your child is:
- Receiving gifts through the mail, like bus tickets, cell phones and webcams.
- Calling unknown numbers.
- Rejecting family and friends in favor of spending time online.
- Getting upset when he or she can’t get online.
- Minimizing the screen or turning off the monitor when you come into the room.
If your child has been speaking with a predator, be very calm when they come to you for help. It has probably taken a lot of courage to come and talk to you. The predators are very good at making a child feel that they have no one to talk to. Once you know that they have been talking to a predator, go to your local police department to report them. It is important to get the police involved so that you can help your child get access to resources to help them get away from the predator
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