Internet safety tips from the Ascentive team
A cyberbully uses the Internet, cell phone, or other device to send or post text or images to try to hurt or embarrass other people. Whether it’s creating a fake Facebook or MySpace page to impersonate a fellow student, repeatedly sending hurtful text messages and images, or posting cruel comments on the Internet, cyberbullying can have a seriously harmful effect on a child. Nasty comments, lies, embarrassing photos and videos, and snide polls can be spread widely through texting, and by posts on social networking sites like Facebook. Here are ten tips to preventing CyberBullying.
1) Talk to your Children:
The first and most important step to take in order to prevent CyberBullying is to talk to your children. Make sure your children know Cyberbullying is wrong, and reiterate your values and expectations for your children’s behavior. Encourage your kids to come to you quickly if anything gets out of hand online, and make sure they understand never to take revenge on anyone online.
2) Establish a Code of Conduct:
Tell your children that if they wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, they shouldn’t text it, IM it, or post it. And set guidelines for their computer and cellphone use, with consequences for inappropriate behavior.
Remind your children to keep their passwords safe, and not to share secrets, photos, or anything online that might be embarrassing. Have them set up their email and instant messenger accounts with you, and make sure they do not put their name, age, address, or phone number in their profile or screen name.
4) If in Doubt, Don’t Open It
Train your children to delete suspicious email messages without opening them.
5) No Pretending
Tell your children never to pretend to be someone they are not in chat rooms, IM’ing, in blogs, or on social networking sites.
5) Don’t Bully Back
Tell your children that if they are ever CyberBullyied, don’t respond, save the emails or text messages to a folder for your review.
If your child experiences cyberbullying, you can use an email filter and arrange for all the messages from the cyberbully to go to a special folder, then forward it on to the mail provider.
Remind your children that they can block people from their buddy list on AIM and in chat rooms by clicking the “Block Buddy” button.
8 ) Check School Policies
Contact your child’s teacher or principal and find out whether there is an official policy on cyberbullying. If there is one, read it and discuss it with your kids.
If there isn’t a written policy in place, ask about how cyberbullying is handled and whether there are any plans to create an official policy.
9) Tracking Software
Similar to an auto-filter, you can also purchase special software, such as BeAware, for your computer that can track chats and messages between your child and the bully.
10) Pay Attention
Finally, continue to pay attention to your children’s behavior. Ask them how they communicate with their friends digitally and what kinds of problems typically pop up, and remind your children to show you how they would report digital abuse if it happened to them.