By Keren Rubel, founder of CLICME
Being a parent in the Internet and Social Networks age is not an easy task. Seeing your child connected almost 24 hours a day to the Internet through his computer or mobile phone and not knowing or understanding what he is doing, it is definitely frustrating.
The challenge, as with any issue between parents and children, is to know how to guide your child in the digital environment by creating a meaningful dialogue with him. The result of this dialogue should be the creation of a “Navigation Policy” that aims to establish rules related to the use of Internet and the Social Networks without imposing anything.
Also, this creates the opportunity to discuss issues of high importance such as privacy on the networks, friendship in the digital environment, Internet opportunities, the meaning of written words and the risks in the digital era like cyberbullying.
But what is cyberbullying and what I should know as a parent about it?
1. “Cyberbullying is the use of electronic information and media such as email, social networks, blogs, instant messaging, text messaging, mobile phones, and defamatory websites to harass an individual or group through personal attacks or other means.” Source: Wikipedia.
2. When we talk about cyberbullying, we are talking about peer harassment. This is not a situation between an adult and a minor but between two minors.
3. There are different forms of cyberbullying. Through the computer or mobile device:
- Messages with insults to the victim’s mail, Skype, Messenger or on the chat of social networks.
- Offensive messages on his Facebook wall.
- Creation of Facebook groups against him.
- Creation of web sites against him.
- Offensive comments on blogs and websites.
- Offensive images via email and mobile phones
- Uploading offensive videos on the Network.
- Internet surveys insulting or reviling a minor
- Sending malicious code and viruses to the victim’s email
- Sending porn and junk mail.
- Impersonation. The aggressor assumes the identity of the victim online and commits criminal acts or denigrates the image of the victim.
4. Among the possible consequences of cyberbullying:
- School adjustment problems and social problems
- Low self-esteem
- Poor school performance
- Mood changes
- Feeling of loneliness
- Thoughts of suicide.
5. You can and should report instances of cyberbullying to the police.
6. If you suspect a cyberbullying case has happened, there are organizations that you can consult about it. Look for the national foundations and associations in the country where you live.
7. If you suspect your child has been a victim of cyberbullying, do not delete any message, mail, etc. Document everything.
If we go back to the beginning, we can say that in order to prevent possible cases of cyberbullying, we as parents have the responsibility first, to better know the Internet and the Social Networks environments and second, learn how to create a meaningful dialogue with our children so we can create with them a safe navigation policy.
We invite you to receive the full details about our on-line course “Cyberbullying for parents”. The course aims to provide practical knowledge and the necessary tools for parents in order to guide your children on how to make intelligent use of the Internet world in general and the social networks in particular. We will also discuss the way to detect if your child suffers from cyberbullying and in such a case what to do. More information please contact Keren Rubel : firstname.lastname@example.org +34 648 52 73 80.