Gone are the days when bullying was only limited to schoolyards and classrooms. In this digital age, bullies can attack kids and teens everywhere. Kids are not even safe in their homes because they can be attacked by cyberbullies through their electronic devices.
Cyberbullies use technology, electronic devices, and the internet to attack kids and teens. They send hurtful, threatening, and embarrassing messages to kids and make them feel bad. Cyberbullying leaves a strong impact on the kids’ minds and affects them badly.
The problem with most kids and teens is that they rarely share cyberbullying incidents with their parents and teachers. They face everything on their own and remain silent about it. This is why most parents have resorted to mobile spy apps so they can monitor their kids’ text messages and online chats when they do not get to hear much from their kids.
How Do Cyberbullies Attack Kids?
Cyberbullies have a variety of ways to victimize their targets. With the help of the internet and electronic devices, they reach out to their targets and start bullying them online. Following are some of the ways in which they attack their targets:
- They create blogs and websites to make fun or humiliate their target
- They send mean, hurtful, or threatening text messages, emails, and instant messages to the kids.
- They pretend to be someone else in order to fool their victim into sharing their personal information
- They lie about their victim on the internet and speak ill of them.
- They break into their victim’s personal email and social media accounts and hack all their information.
- They post offensive, embarrassing, and unflattering pictures of their victim without seeking their permission.
It has been observed that the victims of cyberbullying i.e. the kids and teens who are being victimized by cyberbullies already know them. The cyberbullies are often their class fellows, friends or online acquaintances. According to a study, it was reported that only sixteen percent of victims were bullied online by someone they didn’t know.
So, in most cases, kids and teens are often bullied by someone they already know. It could be their classmate or an online buddy. With kids using more electronic devices, cyberbullying has become more common these days.
How to Protect Your Teens from Cyberbullies
When kids and teens are being cyberbullied, they seem to do nothing about it. All the attacks and threats coming their way may seem inescapable to them and they may even feel completely helpless to take any action against them.
Technology has surely made it easier for bullies to reach out to their targets and bully them in whatever way they want. The only way to make sure your teens are safe from cyberbullies while using the internet is to monitor their online activity.
There are some things that parents can do to reduce the chances of their teens getting targeted by cyberbullies. They are as follows:
- First of all, you need to teach your kids and teens about cyberbullying and give them awareness about it so they can identify it whenever someone tries to bully them online. Also, you need to explain to them what sort of behaviors are accepted online so they cannot bully someone else.
- You need to encourage your teens to never exchange their personal information or passwords with anyone on the internet. Such information should never be exposed.
- It’s important to monitor your teen’s online activity all the time. You can tell your teen that you are going to install a parental control or spy phone app on their mobile device/computer for their online safety and then see what sort of messages they have been receiving online.
- As a parent, you should set some rules on internet use and make sure to enforce them.
- Even if your teens come across a cyberbully, make them understand that they should not respond to them under any circumstances. No matter how angry they are at the bullies, they should not respond to their messages. Instead, simply block them on their social media accounts.
- You need to ask your teen to tell you instantly if someone ever tried to bully them online. Give them confidence that you will help them handle the situation in a better way. Teach them to speak about the incident and do not remain silent about it. Silences on teen’s end will encourage cyberbully to harass them more.
- You should teach your teen to always keep a record of any cyberbullying incident they face. They should save the screenshots in case they are asked to present them as proof against the bully.
- You should also inform your teens that cyberbullying incidents can be reported to website moderators as well as internet service providers. Serious cyberbullying that involves threats of harassment, stalking, violence, child pornography, or obscene text messages can also be reported directly to the police.