The internet gives children unprecedented access to a wide range of education, entertainment and socialization with their friends, however in addition to the many benefits, access to the internet can have a negative impact on your children as well.
Since the advent of modern social media platforms, suicide rates have unfortunately risen significantly. The growth of online bullying is a major concern to parents, as use of the internet has become a core component of children and teens’ education and social lives, and the 24/7 nature of the online world means cyberbullying can continue even when your child is in the safety of your home.
If your child is a victim of cyberbullying on the internet, the reality is that you can’t stop them going online. Doing so could impact their education and social lives, and in any case almost 80% of teenagers say they are able to circumvent any parental rules and restrictions on internet usage. So, what should you do?
These 5 steps will help protect your children from cyberbullying and prevent further harassment:
1. Know where your child has profiles online
Most kids have accounts on multiple social media platforms, instant messaging apps and gaming platforms. The average teenager has more than 6 social media accounts. These will all have their own privacy and anti-harassment measures, so you’ll need to know this to make sure your child knows how to find and use them.
2. Use privacy settings
Privacy settings let your child control who can find and contact their accounts and block people they don’t want to get messages from. In addition to blocking the bullies, it is a good idea to hide their profile from unknown accounts, as their bully could make a new account once they realize they are blocked.
3. Unlink accounts
Social media platforms encourage users to link their accounts for other platforms to their profile, meaning someone with access to your child’s Facebook account might easily be able to find them on Snapchat, for example. Removing these links will help to hide profiles their bully doesn’t know about.
4. Report it
Social media platforms have the power to take action when you report bullying or harassment. You can report their profile or individual posts and messages, flagging it to the platform for review. In addition to removing offensive content, this can lead to preventative measures such as banning or suspending the bully from the platform, or preventing their IP address from reaching your child’s profile.
5. Use reverse image search
Reverse image search lets you search for every place on the internet where a certain image can be found. If an embarrassing or sensitive image or video is being used to bully your child, this is a very useful tool for tracking it down and asking the website and platform holders to take it down.
All of the above points should also be applied to your own accounts as well as your child’s. Once they realize they cannot access your child’s account, their bully may resort to the accounts of family members in the hope of finding images or information they can use to harass.
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