Parent’s Guide To Cyberbullying Prevention

Parent’s Guide To Cyberbullying Prevention

In this day and age kids get access to the internet at an early age.

With hands-on the web, kids are doing wonderful things at a very young age, they are developing apps, creating software, and what not!

But they are also prone to online threats and crimes like cyberbullying. A recent study by Child Rights and You (CRY) states that around 9.2% of 630 adolescents surveyed in Delhi-National Capital Region had experienced cyberbullying and half of them had not reported it to teachers, guardians or social media companies concerned.

Children are bullied online and the cases of online crimes have been increasing with increased consumption of the web. Needless to say, the pandemic has made it a necessity for children to be online. And apart from the current crisis, it doesn’t make sense to devoid children of internet access and hinder their skill building because some kids or online offenders feel they can harass online users as they like. However, what keeps them continue doing what they do is the ignorance of people towards cybercrimes. In most cases, parents and authorities don’t take the required action and shrug off the online bullying as nothing.  

“Cases of cyber stalking or bullying of women or children increased by 36% from 542 in 2017 to 739 in 2018, data released recently by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) showed. Meanwhile, the conviction rate for cyber stalking or bullying of women and children fell 15 percentage points from 40% in 2017 to 25% in 2018. However, during the same period, the pendency percentage saw an increase of 1 percentage point to 96%, the data show. Yet, the reported cases of threatening/blackmail fell 28.3% from 311 to 223 during the same period, which experts said is largely due to underreporting.”

The sections below will help you understand the early signs of your child being at risk and measures you need to take if or if not your child is being bullied or bullying someone online.

Notice The Early Signs That Points To Your Child Being At Risk

Your child can either be the culprit or the victim. In some cases, they may be aware of anything such happening with someone they know or to their friend. Whatever the case may be, it is essential that as parents you acknowledge the problem, speak to the child, and handle the situation as need be. Check the points below that can help you recognize the signs of the same:

1. Spending a long time over Computers/Web

Children use a computer and their smart devices a lot more than before as the pandemic has shifted their education online. However, it is not usual to see your child on a computer or using phones all the time. Spending long hours on a computer or using cell phones is the most common and one of the first signs that you’ll notice. When kids are exposed to inappropriate content, involve in cyberbullying, or are being a victim of it they will be spending unusually long hours over computers.  

2. You find inappropriate content from the computer

Chances are that if you’ll try to scan the computer you may get files that your kid should not be viewing. The other thing is to check browser history. Although, kids are pro with tech and they have their ways but sleuthing once in a while does no harm.

3. Change in behaviour

Another early sign is a prominent change in behaviour. This is more common among teens. Once they are involved in any such activity, they tend to get distant from family. You can observe a sudden change in behaviour in terms of not speaking much, staying away from the family members, staying alone, etc. Victimized children are more likely to have difficulty sleeping, headaches, nervousness, stomach aches, and make excuses to avoid going to school. Kids are usually reluctant to tell anyone about problems with their peers and fear losing internet privileges if they report being cyberbullied. This sudden change can be because someone is harassing your kid online or maybe because they are involved in some wrong activity over the web. You must ensure they feel confident that they can tell you anything and that you will help them. We must teach our children that no one has the right to hurt another person.

4. Keep a tab on your kids' screen time

Have you ever noticed how quickly your child shuts the screen off when you enter the room where they use computer? A child looking at pornographic images or having sexually explicit conversations does not want you to see it on the screen. If your child is experiencing some harassment over the web or is involved in any ill activity, chances are they will hide it from you. It is difficult for children to come upon their parents and share their negative internet experiences. It could be due to the fear of being stopped from internet access or facing consequences from peers if you report to the school or parents of other children involved. Try to notice if your child turns the computer monitor off or quickly changes the screen on the monitor when you come into the room.

5. The child is using an on-line account belonging to someone else

Even if you don't subscribe to an on-line service or Internet service, your child may meet an offender while on-line at a friend's house or the library. Online offenders will sometimes provide potential victims with a computer account for communications with them. It is not mandatory that your child is being harassed by their school mates or any friends. In this age of social media, it is possible that your child has online friends or interact with strangers which can lead to possible cyberbullying. Ensure that you know about your child’s online web consumption, the social media platforms they use, people they befriend on the internet and talk to. It is important to keep all these things in your knowledge to ensure that your child is having a safe online environment.

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