How to safeguard your child from online bullying

Friday the 15th March is National Day of action against bullying and violence which brings to light the topic of online bullying and how we can protect our children from it. Keeping your child off the internet and social media platforms altogether can cause them to act out and find another way on to talk to their friends. The below are ideas on how you can give your child access to a computer, the internet and social media with rules and ways to monitor their activity.

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Have the computer in a social room

Keeping the computer/laptops out of the bedroom and in a lounge room/kitchen will allow any website and social searching be easily monitored.

Be familiar with the social media platforms

Having a knowledge over the different social media platforms out there and especially the ones that your child is using will help you to know where there may be dangers and how you can educate your child about these.

Make rules with your child about being online

Sit down with your child and make some rules together about being online including how long each night can be spent online, what websites are allowed and the way you should speak to others.

Be supportive and open about conversations

If your child comes to you about an issue or potential bullying online, sit down with them and listen to what they have to say. Ask them how it makes them feel, do they know the person and what they have said back to that person. From there you can help your child make the right decision about blocking that person or reporting it.

Do not take away computer privileges after an online problem or incident

If your child has come to you with a problem from being online, do not take away their computer privileges as they have been open and communicated a problem with you. If they are communicating well about online concerns, you can feel confident that they are going to continue to communicate well with you.

Talk about what information to give out

It is important that your child knows what information they should and should not give out on the internet. For any social media platforms that are being set up, be with them to only give the basic information need to get it set up. When chatting or playing games online, it is best to only give their first name. Do not give out full name, date of birth or address. These things are not necessary for others to know and can help protect against identify theft.

Set up privacy settings

Get online and set up basic computer privacy settings as well as in each social media platform and when using the web for certain websites. This can help block any unnecessary websites and stop any personal information being shared or found on social media platforms.

Monitor your child’s behaviour

When your child starts using social media, monitoring their behaviour will help you to see any signs in a change in their attitude and how they react to the family and their friends which can be from something happening online that your child has not told you about. If you see a change, sit down with them and try and talk to them to figure out why they are upset or angry.

All of the above steps are going to help you protect your child and help your child protect themselves against online bullying. If you child is comfortable being able to talk to you about their activity online, it is most likely you will hear about any bullying or the potential to be bullying before it gets out of hand.

Cristy Houghton