We understand that being a parent in today’s world can be tough – so much is going on online, and you’re never quite sure exactly what your children are looking at, who they’re talking to, or what they’re using. You don’t want to be THAT parent who bans their child from having an online life completely, but you want to make sure that they’re safe. Just how do you strike the right balance?
TALK TO YOUR CHILD
Communication is vital. Even if your child doesn’t want you to keep asking them about how they’re using their phone, you should. By finding out which apps and social media sites they’re on, and who they’re talking to online, you’re making sure that they’re safe. Make sure that they know they can talk to you if they feel somebody is bullying them, and encourage them to talk to their teachers at school as well.
In today’s world, kids put so much emphasis on the number of followers they have on Instagram, or the number of friends they have on Snapchat, that they are putting their own safety at risk. Ensure that your child to makes their accounts private, and check that they only allow friends and family to see their profiles.
HAVE SOME TIME AWAY FROM THE INTERNET
Using their phone before bed can disrupt sleep and leave them feeling tired, especially if something is worrying them.Encourage your child to leave their phone downstairs before they go to sleep – instead of scrolling through social media, they can read a book instead. This way they can unwind from the stress of the internet and get a good night’s sleep.
REPORT ANY INCIDENTS IF THINGS ARE BEGINNING TO ESCALATE
If you think that something is getting out of hand, don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s teacher and see if they can try and resolve it. If the cyberbullying isn’t able to be dealt with in school, talk to your child and see if they think the situation would be improved if you reported the cyberbullying to an organisation such as CEOP. They can be particularly helpful when dealing with online grooming and other more serious issues.
DR LINDA PAPADOPOULOS SPECIALISES IN DEALING WITH CYBERBULLYING IN CHILDREN AND TEENS
She shares videos with parents like you on ways to deal with and prevent cyberbullying – some are included on this website, and you can find others on youtube or www.internetmatters.org.