We equip our kids with this powerful technology, but we don’t teach them the ramifications of using it inappropriately. And the worst part is most parents don’t even know it is happening.
Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) October 18, 2011
October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and with more than half of all kids who are either online or own a cell phone reporting that they have been cyberbullied, parents must know the warning signs and how to manage this pervasive issue.
According to Tim Woda, an Internet and child safety expert and co-founder of uKnow.com, a provider of parental intelligence systems: “The problem with cyberbullying is that it can spread like wild fire. An embarrassing photo or video can be spread to thousands in a matter of minutes. We equip our kids with this powerful technology, but we don’t teach them the ramifications of using it inappropriately. And the worst part is most parents don’t even know it is happening.”
Tim offers the following tips to parents:
- Spot it: Kids that are cyberbullied will often avoid using their cell phone or computer, or appear stressed when receiving an e-mail or text message. They may act reluctant to attend social or school events or avoid conversations about school, friends, etc. In extreme cases, the child will have declining grades, stop eating, or may not be able to sleep.
- Deal with it: If your child is cyberbullied, teach your child to not respond to the bully, save the evidence, and report it to a website or Internet Service Provider. It is also important to engage school administrators to discuss a plan of action and their cyberbullying policy. Finally, talk about the situation with the bully’s parents. Sometimes a school guidance counselor can act as a mediator for this type of meeting.
- Talk about it: Unfortunately, cyberbullying is often not an isolated incident. Ask your child how they would respond if someone is mean to them online. Who can they talk to if they are being cyberbullied? Is it okay to forward a text message making fun of someone?
- Prevent it: As parents, we know that spying does not equal trust. Obviously, going behind your kid’s back to see what they are doing does not help you build a trusting relationship with your child. Stealing a phone at night when your child is asleep, or checking their social media accounts is not the only way to understand what they are doing.
There is a difference between spying and being held accountable. A child who is accountable knows they are being monitored, which is why I encourage parents of tweens to install a parental intelligence system from the minute their child gets a social media account or cell phone. If it’s part of the initial set up, it is easier for kids to accept for the long run. If kids think they are being “spied on”, they often will try to cover their tracks or mislead their parents.
About Tim Woda
Tim is an Internet and Child Safety Advocate, public speaker, author, and co-founder of uKnow.com. He has made protecting kids from digital dangers his life mission after his own child was targeted online by a child predator. You can read his blog for more useful tips at http://www.timwoda.com or follow him on twitter at @TimWoda.
Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Arlington, Va., uKnow.com powers the world's leading Parental Intelligence Systems including uKnowKids.com, KidSafe.me, and SafeCyberKids.com, among others.
uKnow.com helps parents protect their kids from child predators, sexting, and cyberbullying with a special focus on the social networks and mobile phone. uKnow.com provides parents with a bird's eye view of what is going on in their child's digital world so that they can keep their finger on the pulse, and when necessary, take action to protect the safety and privacy of their kids. You can find uKnow.com on Twitter, on Facebook, or follow our blog.