Instagram. Snapchat. Facebook. Kik. GroupMe. What do these apps have in common? They all have the power to make or break a child’s self-confidence and reputation.
Unfortunately, as social media becomes an integral part of society, the prevalence of cyberbullying and the effects of cyberbullying have become more significant.
If you interview any child in any school in the United States, you will most certainly learn about how often cyberbullying happens, how pervasive it is, and how detrimental to a child’s psyche. Some people feel helpless, trying to stop it. The first step is getting informed.
Websites like StopBullying.gov explain cyberbullying, its repercussions, and devote research to learning how to stop cyberbullying.
As social media consistently changes, the one thing that remains constant is a parent’s need to shelter our kids from harm. Fathers Eve is a supportive group that helps you navigate parenthood, especially when you are trying to help your child emotionally.
Learning how to help your child cope with the effects of cyberbullying and putting an end to it can help your child have a positive educational and social experience; one where they thrive, not just survive.
What Does Cyberbullying Look Like?
Cyberbullying is any bullying that takes place in a digital platform. While it can take place through text, email, and online games, it most often takes place on social media apps because it is more public that way and thus inflicts more damage to the victim.
Many times hurtful things are shared with a group, or even personal private information, to marginalize an individual and make them look bad to their peers.
Long-Lasting Effects of Cyberbullying
We realize that this type of bullying can create long-lasting consequences for the victim and the bully; not only emotionally and physically, but also in terms of future opportunities.
- Continuous and Overwhelming: Because children have an online platform available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this type of bullying is not confined to when they are in school. A child can be cyberbullied on the weekends, at night, at all times, making them feel overwhelmed and bombarded with no relief in sight.
- Permanence: What children don’t understand about cyberbullying is that whatever you put on social media, whether it be a photo, a hurtful comment, or video, has the potential of affecting them in the future. If an incident is not reported and removed by an app administrator, then it will become permanent and public. Many universities and employers now review a person’s social media accounts before accepting candidates.
What To Do If Your Child Is A Victim
If you suspect that your child is a victim of cyberbullying, there are a couple of tips that can help you to stop cyberbullying from continuing and prevent it in the future.
- Notice and open up dialogue: If you notice your child’s mood changes around their use of social media, this might be a red flag. Start by asking questions. Any information you can get about what is happening, who is involved, and how long its been going on will be useful.
- Work as a Team: While you might feel it’s your parental duty to take charge and go straight to the school to advocate for your child, you want to listen to your child’s needs first and work closely with them to figure out the next step. Letting your child work on a solution with you will become a confidence booster and help them with closure.
- Document everything: You will want to keep a record of all conversations, comments, photos, and posts. Take snapshots of whatever you can because it can help you make a strong case against the bullies at school.
- Report the Incident: After speaking to your child and figuring out what the best outcome will be, you can report it to school officials and social media administrators to remove posts, comments, etc.
- Lots of support: Try to offer as much help and positivity as possible; it will hopefully serve as a confidence booster and turn the conversation into a positive one.
Respond Appropriately and Thoughtfully
The ultimate goal for a victim is to regain self-confidence and worth. Being too hasty in making a decision or speaking to the school can further your child’s social stigma.
Ask him or her what they would like to do; This cannot be stressed enough. Your child needs to know you respect their wishes and support them no matter what.
Cyberbullying Prevention Apps
While there is no 100% guaranteed way that you can prevent your child from being a victim of cyberbullying or the perpetrator, there are tips on how to stop cyberbullying or prevent it from happening. The main one is to be aware of what your kids are doing online.
Monitoring your child’s online or social media activity is one easy way that a parent can help prevent cyberbullying. If you notice your child’s mood changing for the negative after being on social media, you stan start watching them more closely, begin doing random checks on their phone, or take away their phone. If these are not options, you can also download monitoring apps.
Some of the Apps you can now download to help monitor your child’s activity include:
- Pumpic: monitors social media, allows you to view texts (even deleted ones), phone calls, and online behavior.
- Net Nanny: Allows you as a parent to monitor your child’s internet activity.
- Knowbullying: Facilitates conversations between groups of parents and their children and offers information on how to begin a dialogue with your child about cyberbullying
- BullyTag: Allows students to document bullying incidents seen and send reports anonymously to school officials.
Dads Supporting Dads
Whether your kid is the bully or the victim, cyberbullying can be catastrophic. Joining a Father’s Eve group can be a way for you to gain support during the whirlwind. Being heard and having support from other parents will allow you to be more proactive and helpful if your child is going through cyberbullying.
Follow us online at www.fatherseve.com to find a group near you. Our annual gathering event is this upcoming June 15th, 2019, at 8 pm.