Parents Can Take Actions To Prevent Cyberbullying

Both bullying and cyberbullying are not new, but since we have been through times of isolation, this phenomenon has been on the rise.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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One consequence of the CORONAVIRUS pandemic is cyberbullying. Students spend more time online and in isolation. As a consequence, online hate speech has increased.

Smartphone apps like TikTok and Snapchat can open the door to cyberbullies. As these apps change people's appearance, some users post very negative and damaging comments. According to Light, an organization that monitors online bullying, there has been a 40% increase in toxicity on online gaming platforms since the pandemic began, a 70% increase in cyberbullying, and a 200% increase in traffic to hate sites.

What can parents and their children do to combat the problem? Communicate. Children should feel confident that they can talk to their parents or a responsible adult if they perceive something online that worries or bothers them.

In an interview with WKBT TV, cyberbullying expert Jeff Reiland defines this problem as a repeated and intentional use of technology to inflict harm, harass, annoy and do hurtful things to another person to make them feel bad.

Cyberbullying is a growing problem in the child and adolescent population. Reiland notes that it is difficult for a quiet, shy and suspicious young man to stand up to a bully. One of the challenges is growing rampant, in part because kids have so much more access to technology than they used to.

Also read: ARE YOUR CHILDREN HANDLING THEIR EMOTIONS?

Parents may be able to research how to monitor their young children's cell phone use and talk with them about what is okay to text and what is not.

"It is not a single conference, it is not a contract. It is a conversation that continues year after year," warns the expert. This could be an excellent opportunity for parents to talk with their children about their experiences with bullying or friends who have been bullied and what they have done to deal with it.

Parents must give children the tools to prevent this from happening. According to Reiland, one of the reasons cyberbullying has gone viral is because it is relatively anonymous. Someone may have a fake username or identity. It is quite easy to do; they need to write something and send it even from a secret location. It also takes less courage to do that.

Harassing someone face to face is much more difficult to do than if a person does it from miles away in the comfort of their home. Another problem highlighted by the expert is that there is often a lack of supervision. Children who are bullied are generally not observed by others who do so. They do it with a small group or with themselves, but the parents are not very aware of it. Also, it can go viral very quickly. For example, Internet users can send malicious messages to many people at any time.

When a child is bullied at school it only happens at a certain time. Meanwhile, cyberbullying can happen at any time. Parents need to be careful around their children and ask them how they are feeling and if someone is bothering them. Building a strong bond with children so they can speak openly about these issues is crucial to avoiding cyberbullying.

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