Internet safety tips from the Ascentive team
Although the taunting of children by their peers always been a fact of life while one grows up, the growing popularity of the Internet in our society has escalated bullying to alarming proportions. Known as Cyberbullying, this type of bullying usually occurs when individuals utilize information and communication technologies to execute deliberate, repeated, and hostile actions intended to harm others. Whether it’s creating a fake social network member page to impersonate another child, transmitting harmful text messages or images, or posting malicious comments somewhere on the Internet, CyberBullying can seriously hurt a child. Mean comments, lies, embarrassing photos, videos, or malicious polls can be spread to a wide audience through texts, email or through posts on social networks. Some photos are even doctored with Photoshop to make them even more embarrassing and harmful.
Even worse, studies are now connecting Cyberbullying and teen suicide. A report by Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D of the Cyberbullying Research Center notes that victims of Cyberbullying were almost twice as likely to have attempted suicide when compared to children who have not experienced Cyberbullying at all.
So what can you do to prevent Cyberbullying?
Talk to your Child
The first and most crucial step to take to prevent CyberBullying is to talk to your child about it. Make sure they know CyberBullying is wrong, and explain your expectations for their behavior. Encourage your children to come to you immediately if anything gets out of hand, and make sure they know never to take revenge on a cyberbully.
Create a Code of Conduct
Warn your children that if they would not say something to someone in person, then they shouldn’t communicate it online. And remember to set guidelines for the use of their computers and cellphones.
Remind your children to keep their passwords safe, and not to share anything private online. Have them create their email and IM accounts with you, and make sure they do not put their personal info in their profile or screen name.
Delete Suspicious Emails
Train your child to always trash suspicious emails without opening them.
No Pretend Behavior
Warn your child never to pretend that someone they are not in chat rooms, IM’ing, or on social networks.
If your child is cyberbullyied via email, use an email filter to direct all the cyberbully’s messages to go to a special folder, then forward the messages to the email provider.
Tell your child that they can block bullies from their messenger buddy list by clicking on the “Block Buddy” button.
Research School Policies
Review your children’s school’s policies on bullying and discuss them with your children. And if there are not any policies on bullying in place, ask whether there are any plans to create them.
Install Tracking Software
Tacking software is special software that tracks malicious emails and automatically forward these emails to the sender’s Internet Service Provider.
Watch your Children
Finally, continue watch your children’s behavior. Ask your children how they interact with their friends and what kinds of problems pop up.