How to Prevent Cyberbullying

Posted on May 28, 2012 by Nikhil P Naik

Cyberbullying is becoming more and more common among children and teens, and it can have fatal results. Cyberbullying refers to sending hateful messages to others through the Internet or posting harmful messages about them online. PhoebePrince killed herself after being bullied both online and in-person by children at school. TylerClementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge after being bullied by other classmates who found out he was gay.

Cyberbullying is an epidemic, and it needs to disappear before more children take their own lives as a result. Initiatives should be taken to stop Cyberbullying. Kids are ruthless, and they don’t think how their actions are going to affect others. As parents, we need to find ways to keep our children safe, and making them aware of the effects of cyberbullying is a great way to do so.

1. Teach children that it’s wrong to use the Internet to bully others. Share the stories of Phoebe and Tyler and let them know how the words they say and the actions they take can force someone to become so miserable that they take their own lives. Nobody wants to be the reason someone takes their own life, and discussing the effects of cyberbullying is a great way to get through to kids.

2. Tell children to alert adults about situations. If a child becomes the victim of cyberbullying, the best way to put an end to it is to tell an adult about it, such as a parent or teacher. These people will be able to bring the attention of the bullying to school administration.

3. Teach kids to ignore the messages. The best way to alleviate cyberbullying is to not get involved. If another child is cyberbullying your child, teach your child to simply ignore the situation, and virtually walk away. Cyberbullies feed off of the reaction they’re receiving, and if your child doesn’t show any reaction, the cyberbully will quickly move on.

4. Monitor the time your child spends online. Place the computer in a public area of your home. Limit their time on it to an hour or 30 minutes. Check the history on the computer to see which sites your child is visiting, and block access to any sites that are inappropriate. As a parent, you should always have access to your child’s username and password too, and you need to ensure your child is a friend of yours on social media sites so you can see what is being posted on their page as well as what they’re posting on other’s pages.

5. Make sure that schools have a cyberbullying policy and that they inform students on the dangers of it. Have the school create a no tolerance policy, which means that any student found cyberbullying other students will be expelled immediately.

6. Pay attention to signs. If your child becomes withdrawn, or suddenly stops using the computer, it could be a sign that they’re being virtually attacked. Investigate the situation, and always remind your child that you are there to listen.

By bringing awareness to the situation of cyberbullying, you can work with others to put an end to the tragic epidemic.

Prepared and researched by M. P Brown a school advisor with a focus on helping teens dealing with the stress of admissions essays

Photo credit: JOID

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.

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