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The Subtleties of Cyber Bullying: How to Find Out If Your Child is Being Bullied

by Parent on June 30, 2011

Can the “Like” button be a bad thing? With the integration of Facebook and Twitter into nearly every household on earth, as well as the recent release of Google+, which promises to be the next level in social networking, online security is becoming ever more important. Apart from the avoiding explicit materials online, cyber bullying is the next biggest threat to children and teenagers who use the Internet.

Fortunately, unlike some of the lesser-known sites, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ all have security measures in place that will prevent anonymous users from posting anything on your profile or wall. So that just the leaves the problem of cyber bullying and abuse from people that you do know. And sometimes they can be very clever about how they choose to bully someone.

Two Types of Bullies: The Blatant and the Passive Aggressive

Many bullies aren’t afraid to be bold in their cruel statements towards others. As far as using social media to do it, this could include anything like: making cruel posts or comments on others’ walls, sending instant messages, or posting embarrassing or cruel pictures and tagging someone else’s name on them. But besides these more obvious types of bullying, you will often find a more subtle approach taken by many. And the Internet is a veritable breading ground for these passive-aggressive style bullies.

Like the bullies in teenage flicks who make underhanded remarks, many times you can find similar cyber bullying that is very subtle and seemingly harmless to any outsiders. They use hints and innuendos to make the other person feel bad. For example, cyber bullies may “unfriend” someone, “like” a status that was meant to be a serious comment, or create groups that would be insulting and invite your child to be a member. These wily insults are very hard to track, but can be an extremely powerful influence on your child’s psyche.

The Responsibility of the Parents

As a parent, you have the responsibility of teaching your children how to interact properly with others and deal with inappropriate behavior. The absolute best way for you to do this is to have a strong relationship with your child. One of the most rampant issues with cyber bullying is that children are too scared to tell anyone what is happening. As a parent, you can build a relationship with your child that will help them feel comfortable talking to you about any problems. It’s the children who tell no one that end up responding drastically to bullying, to the point of even committing suicide.

Another thing parents can do to help their children deal with cyber bullying is by being an example to them in the way you treat others.

Children learn from a young age how to interact with those around them by watching how their parents do it. If you show kindness and respect to everyone around you, your children will have the same tendency. Therefore, they will be able to better handle any bullying that should occur, whether in an online setting or in real life. Alternately, if you find out that it is your child that is doing the bullying, you need to spend some serious introspection time. It is impossible that you are not in part to blame for their actions.

Bullying has smoothly transitioned into the Internet age. As worried as we were about it before social networking came into play, we should continue to be worried about it still. As parents, you can help your children deal with cyber bullying. Build up their self-worth by letting them know that you are listening. Teach them to treat others respectfully. This will go a long way in limiting the damage done by anyone who should try and attack them online, or in any other circumstances for that matter.

About the Author:
Natalie Clive is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them search for online degrees that can help them reach their goals.

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