The truth is that there is no silver bullet that will keep your kids safe from inappropriate or dangerous content online. I wish that there was, because I’d make sure that everyone had it. After reading that, you might conclude that the best option is to avoid online activity altogether. That’s not an option either, for several reasons:
It won’t stop the haters
It just means that you’ll be unaware of it
It deprives your children from learning valuable skills
Let’s put the blame where it really belongs – with the people that attack the victims. In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be anyone doing cyberbullying, but that’s not the world that we live in, so we need to realize that. While we should never stop trying to eradicate cyberbullying, we need to put more into helping kids realize what is happening and that it’s not their fault.
Kids, and even some adults, bow to the pressures of being cyberbullied to the point where they do the unthinkable and resort to a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Let’s put our efforts into ensuring that our kids are not the aggressor and how to handle it if it should happen to them.
Ignorance is Not Bliss
In a recent article for another site that is dedicated mainly to using social media for business purposes, I explained why companies should want people to complain about them on their social media sites. It’s because they can’t get do anything about something that they don’t know about.
By finding out about what’s happening, people are able to counter the negativity. In some cases, it may be a simple misunderstanding. In other cases, it won’t be. In that case, you need to know what to do next. I have several recommendations on what to do if your child is ever being bullied online. My personal favorite is the concept of Positive Slamming, which involves getting others to stand up for the target. It can do a lot to help that person feel better.
One of the best ways to find out what is being said about your child online is to create an online alert system. There are two good sites that can do this for you. The first is to use Google’s Alert site. More people may prefer this site because of their familiarity with Google over the other option – Social Mention. Both can scan the Internet for you and send automatic emails when certain keyword criteria is found.
Technology is here to Stay!
Computers are not going away anytime soon. To deny someone the ability to use them will only harm a person.
First, it lets the bully win and can make the victim feel powerless. Is that the lesson that our children should learn? If your child is ever victimized, please do not take away or restrict the use of their computers or mobile devices. It can make them feel as though they did something wrong and make it less likely that they will ever tell you about something like that again.
Second, social media is fun! Don’t deprive them of the opportunity to enjoy it. If they wish to take a time-out after an event happens, let them. They will return when they’re ready to do so.
Finally, computer skills of all types are good to have. Preventing someone from using a computer or even social media could make an impact on their life down the line that may not be foreseeable in the present. Maybe they will become a cyber advocate and help others. We need more people like that, for sure!