It’s no secret that our lives are greatly influenced by technology. Within the last few decades, we have been introduced to a wide array of devices ranging from personal computers, tablets, smartphones, gaming systems, virtual reality headsets, laptops, smart watches, iPhones, iPads and more. Even though the list could go on, all of these technological devices have revolutionized the way we communicate and share information by using the Internet or text messaging. However, this unlimited access to the world has also opened the door to several unforeseen risks.
Everyone who logs onto the Internet is potentially exposed to cyberbullying, whether we are the victims or just a bystander. Unfortunately, this trend is impacting our sons and daughters the most. Today, it is believed that the rates of cyberbullying have tripled within the last few years and now 87 percent of our children have witnessed these negative behaviors. This is astounding, because despite our best efforts cyberbullying is still impacting our kids at epidemic levels.
3 Ways To Makeover Our Talks About Cyberbullying
Talking to children about uncomfortable subjects, like cyberbullying, can be uncomfortable and awkward. It’s easy for us to lecture, telling our sons and daughters to turn the other cheek or just avoid going on social media sites. However, our kids rely heavily on technology for a majority of their social and peer interactions. To help us revamp our discussions, consider the following talking points:
- Teach the power of words. Many of us have taught our kids the mantra: “sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words never hurt me”. Unfortunately, words do cause harm and can lead to serious problems if left unchecked. Help a child understand different points of view, empathy, and the importance of thinking before posting.
- If cyberbullying is encountered, have them tell a trusted adult. Most cases of bullying stop within 10 seconds if someone intervenes. This is important to consider, because repeated cruel messages can take a toll on a child’s wellbeing. Cyberbullying is notorious for isolating victims, which can lead to thoughts of self harm or suicide. Don’t let children go through this alone, let them know you will be there to offer a supportive shoulder to lean on.
- Let them know that they can make a difference! Children and teens need to know that they are not powerless. If they witness cyberbullying or know someone is being targeted, they can report offensive posts on social media sites with a tap of a button to let the site’s moderators know there might be a situation developing. Another tactic to employ, is to privately reach out to the victim o let someone know that they are not alone.
Thankfully, there are more ways our children can raise awareness, educate people on ways to delete cyberbullying, and protect others from the negative side effects of cyberbullying. For more information, please read the following infographic brought to you by Teensafe, in partnership with Schools TV and Shirley Ann Sullivan Educational Foundation: