Cyberbullying Challenges and Solutions
Nearly two weeks ago, Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old from Buffalo, New York, committed suicide. Jamey experienced severe bullying both at school and online. We mourn the loss of Jamey and other children who’ve experienced constant bullying and resorted to taking their own lives. While the media spotlight may shine a brief light on these tragedies, it’s important for parents and other caregivers to learn from these teachable moments. The bottom line is that cyberbullying can be combatted and prevented. Jamey’s story and many others will hopefully help us realize that no child is immune and they all need our help.
In an effort to combat cyberbullying and the negative consequences felt by children and families, I want to focus this blog post on some solutions to prevent cyberbullying. The challenges are many and the roles of parents, educators, bystanders and others are paramount.
Cyberbullies use technology to harass and torment their victims via digital communications. Any Internet-enabled or mobile devices can be abused in the process of cyberbullying. Unlike schoolyard bullying, cyberbulling can occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, be it through texting, social media or instant messaging. In fact the methods of cyberbullying are only limited by the bully’s imagination. Listed below are three major challenges presented by cyberbullying, as well as solutions to overcome these challenges.
Challenge 1: Your child falsely believes he or she cannot control what is posted on his or her social networking site or who sends messages to him or her.
Solution 1: Kids can control who posts on their online profiles by first, setting their profiles as private, meaning those not approved by your child as an online “friend” cannot view your child’s information or post on your child’s profile. Secondly, kids can control who posts on their profiles by blocking specific online “friends” from being able to view or post information. In an effort to prevent and monitor cyberbullying that may occur, make it your responsibility as the parent to ensure your child’s profile is set to private and you are “friended” by your child so that you can review the activities and comments on your childs social networking site.
Challenge 2: Your child feels uncomfortable telling you what someone else wrote on your child’s wall because the comment is inappropriate. Therefore your child fears you may be disappointed in him or her.
Solution 2: Keep open lines of communication with your child and build an atmosphere of trust. Review online posts in question with your child to make him or her aware of your concern and to start an open dialogue about cyberbullying. Make sure you look your child in the eye and tell him or her that nothing anyone else says or writes in a message will decrease your love. It’s important to stay calm and avoid overreacting. Your children will be more comfortable talking to you about issues they encounter if they aren’t afraid you will make matters worse.
Challenge 3: Your child feels powerless to deal with cyberbullying.
Solution 3: Feeling powerless is a normal feeling for bullied kids. Encourage and empower your child with tools for victims of bullying (featured in a graphic at the bottom of this post). If your child is harassed online, contact the administrator of the site on which your child is harassed. All social networking sites have a zero tolerance policy for cyberbullying, and those who like to bully online will find their profiles shut down. Remind your child that giving bullies attention is exactly what they want, so ignore them as much as possible.
In a recent CBS News 48 Hours, the mother of Jessica Logan, a victim of cyberbullying and suicide, said, “I did as much as I could do as a parent knowing as little as I did.” I am sure there are many other parents concerned because they know little about the new-age online danger of cyberbullying plaguing their children. For this reason, Enough Is Enough℠ created Internet Safety 101℠ to educate, equip and empower parents and all caring adults with the knowledge and resources needed to protect children from cyberbullying and other online dangers.
Our Internet Safety 101℠ program devotes an entire segment in the DVD teaching series and workbook to the issue of cyberbullying. One of the wisest things you can do if you’re a parent, grandparent or guardian of children is to become equipped, educated and empowered through receiving your own personal copy of our multi-media Internet Safety 101℠ program. You can view a short clip from the cyberbullying segment of the DVD training by clicking here. The Internet Safety 101℠ DVD teaching series will provide you with the information you need to protect children through taking steps to prevent Internet-initiated crimes against children, all while participating in the training in the comfort of your own home.
Stand with us and tell cyberbullies Enough Is Enough℠!