Cyberbully – it’s a word the majority of us parents never grew up with. If we had a bully at school, that bully – and the problems that came with him – were usually left on the playground.
But today’s kids have different challenges. No longer is bullying within the confines of school. Kids are getting bullied on their cellphones, Facebook pages and e-mail.
How can you prevent online “cyberbullying?” Here are some tips from Microsoft’s Safety and Security Center to help prevent cyberbullies from bullying your child.
Address the issues. It seems like a hard pill to swallow, but parents need to talk to their children about their online behavior. Make it a family issue. Ask your kids where they go online and let them know online bullying is never okay.
Keep the family computer in a central location. If your kids play video games, keep Internet-connected game consoles in a central location also. Teenagers have so many ways to access the Internet that putting the computer in a central spot isn’t always effective. With older kids, it’s especially important to have frank discussions.
Look for signs of online bullying-for example, getting upset when online or a reluctance to go to school.
Don’t tolerate cyberbullying at home. Let your children know they should never, under any circumstances, bully someone. Make the consequences clear.
Keep passwords secret. Urge your kids not to share passwords or other information that could be used to bully them, or to loan their cell phones or laptops.
Encourage your children to make friends and to help friends look out for each other. Cyberbullies are less likely to target those whom they perceive have strong friendships. If a victim has friends who rally around him or her, the bullying usually stops.
Get help from technology. Turn on the safety features available in most programs and services.