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What to do when Cyberbullying Lurks?

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Digital technology has become integral to the lives of older children and teens, influencing their education, information seeking, and social connections. However, the escalating use of social media and smartphones brings the risk of cyberbullying.

TCL offers advice on addressing this issue proactively to prevent your child from becoming a victim.

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying occurs through digital devices and online platforms, using technology like smartphones, computers, or social media to intentionally harass, threaten, or harm individuals. It includes behaviors such as mocking, excluding, stalking, impersonation, and unauthorized disclosure of personal information. The consequences for victims can be severe, leading to emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and school avoidance. It’s crucial to treat cyberbullying with the same seriousness as physical or emotional bullying in the real world. Schools and institutions should promote a positive digital culture to prevent and address.

Tips for Navigating the Digital Landscape Safely

  1. Create an Open Line of Communication

– Foster open communication with your children to make them feel safe discussing both positive and negative online experiences. Be non-judgmental and encourage them to share their concerns.

2. Educate Children and Yourself

– Research cyberbullying and its various forms on different platforms. Discuss these forms, including harassment, stalking, and spreading rumors, with your children.

3. Teach Responsible Social Media Use

– Guide your children on responsible social media practices. Show them how to use privacy settings, reporting, and blocking tools to handle unwanted interactions. Instruct them on avoiding sharing personal information publicly.

4. Monitor Online Activity

– Be aware of your child’s social media accounts, friend lists, and the content they post and share. Adjust the level of supervision based on their age and maturity.

5. Know School Policies

– Familiarize yourself with your child’s school policies on digital technology, understanding what behaviors are considered inappropriate and how to address concerns about cyberbullying.

6. Promote Good Online Citizenship

– Discuss the impact of online words and actions, encouraging your teenager to contribute positively to online communities.

7. Teach Respect for Boundaries

– Emphasize the importance of respecting others’ privacy and discuss potential consequences of inappropriate online behavior with your children.

8. Encourage Healthy Digital Habits

– Balance online activities with offline experiences to reduce vulnerability to cyberbullying.

9. Seek Professional Help

– If your child shows signs of emotional distress, consider seeking the assistance of counselors or therapists to help them understand their experience and develop strategies to deal with bullies.

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