Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Essential Tips for Parents To Help Kids Fight Internet Cyber Bullying Online


By Mary Kay Hoal, Founder, President & COO, Yoursphere
Guest Post for MommyBlogExpert.com
Mary Kay Hoal & Family
Photo by Yoursphere.com

It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed when it comes to our children and their use of technology.  After all, they’re the digital natives and we’re the digital immigrants. They prove it each day when they show us something new about technology.

When it comes to cyber-bullying it’s easy to feel afraid for our children – particularly when the media is filled with stories of depression and suicide. 

But, fear not, there are 3 simple things you can do:
1. Understand the why
2. Understand the how
3. Understand the solution

The Why
Cyber-bullying is an unintended consequence of wonderful tools: the Internet, social media and technology. The Internet because it affords anonymity and the subsequent behavior; mainstream social networks since they offer a “free-for-all” culture where anything goes and members aren’t always held accountable for their actions; and technology because it provides our kids nearly unlimited access (cell phones, PDAs, computers) without consistent and enforced cyber-safety standards in place.

The How
Secondly, it’s just too easy for kids to get involved in cyber-bullying. They find false courage behind a keyboard. They also don’t understand the real-world consequences to their online actions and don’t see or feel the emotional havoc they wreak on their victims. And, perhaps most problematically, they take advantage of the fact that many parents haven’t a clue about what’s going on online with their childrens’ networks of so-called friends.

The Solution
However, as a parent you will be relieved to know that there are some simple things you can do to protect your child. First and foremost, become educated about the issue. Next, bully-proof your child. Finally, say no to the culture of disrespect and negativity that awaits your child online.

How to tell if your child is a victim of cyber-bullying
- Are they visibly upset after using the computer or cell phone?
- Are they acting withdrawn?
- Do they avoid going online?
- Do they seem nervous when they receive text messages, email or IMs?

Tips to Bully-Proof Your Child
  • Tell them not to respond, and come to you first.
  • Block the bully.
  • Report all incidents, whether minor or ongoing
  • Keep a written record of problems.
  • Help the child choose a safe online community
  • Hug him/her -- they need to feel loved.

Mary Kay Hoal
Photo by Yoursphere.com

About the Author
Mary Kay Hoal is a married mother of five children (both biological and adopted) from 6 to 19 years old.  She is founder of Yoursphere.com, a free, fun, and vibrant social networking site for kids and teens that is receiving wide acclaim from national cyber crime experts and child safety advocates for its verification methods and oversight.  The site has a zero tolerance for bullying and is uniquely rewards-based, content appropriate, age-relevant, and socially conscious.  Hoal also writes the related Internet and social networking safety blog for parents and child caregivers Yoursphere For Parents

FTC Disclosure:  I did not receive payment or any other compensation in association with this post.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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