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July 18th, 2016 by


Social media is a great tool for connecting with others and for improving social skills and awareness, however this also leaves room for potential online bullying that may catch parents unaware.

 

Thanks to the anonymous nature of the internet, anyone can pretend to be someone else. Naturally, kids are at a higher risk of cyber-bullying due to the increased amounts of time kids spend online.

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According to stats from DoSomething.org, cyber-bullying is on the rise:

 

  1. Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online, with 1 in 4 saying it happened more than once.
  2. Over 70% of students report seeing frequent bullying online. Filling up your friends’ Facebook feeds with positive posts instead of negative ones can boost school-wide morale. Start a Facebook page for students to submit positive acts they see in school to promote a culture of positivity on and offline.
  3. Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber-bullying.
  4. A staggering 68% of teens agree that cyber-bullying is a serious problem.
  5. Majority of young people however think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person. Over 90% of teens also said any social media bullying that had received had been ignored and 84% have seen others tell cyber bullies to stop.
  6. Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse.
  7. Girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying.
  8. About 75% of students admit they have visited a website bashing another student.

With such alarming statistics, you might be thinking that keeping your children off the internet and social media might be the best way to go, but that does not solve the problem nor does it prepare them to deal with similar situations in real life.

We’ve come up with a few tips to help you keep your kids safe online (information provided by Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram) :

  • Encourage your kids to review their privacy settings and to make sure that they consider the audience when sharing content online.
  • Parents don’t need to be social media experts in order to ask questions and begin an ongoing dialogue with their kids. Have conversations about safety and technology early and often in the same way that you talk to your kids about being safe at school, in the car, riding public transport or playing sport.
  • It’s important to talk about the Golden Rule: treating others the way you want to be treated. Make sure that your kids know where to go for support if someone ever harasses them. Help them understand how to make responsible and safe choices about what they post – because anything they put online can be misinterpreted or taken out of context.
  • Report problematic content. All social media platforms have means of reporting content deemed as spam or inappropriate. They can also block the person responsible for the inappropriate content. Ensure that your kids know how to do this.
  • Protect your accounts. Social media platforms allow you to private your account, thereby restricting who can see your kids accounts and the content they post.

 

Reading the statistics might make you feel that the only way to keep your kids safe online is to prevent them from accessing social media site, however this is not the case.

Bullying and name calling happen in real life and proper education regarding how to be safe online can help prepare your kids for dealing with similar issues in the real world.

 

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