According to a study, more than 55% of children ages 6 to 11 are using the internet in one form or another. Be it computers, tablets, or smartphones. As a parent, you may have concerns with your child’s internet use. You want to make sure that you know how to protect your child from cyberbullying, since not everything that they encounter on the internet may be safe for their overall health and well-being.
Fortunately, you don’t have to feel helpless when it comes to protecting your child against this form of online abuse. You just have to tread the fine line between giving your child the opportunity to gain take advantage of the many positive things that can be learned online, while also making sure that they’re practicing safe browsing habits. Read on to learn more.
Limiting your child’s screen time may be something that you find tricky. For one, your child might not always understand why they have to follow this rule. But it’s important that you explain it clearly to them.
The ideal time that your child should spend online for leisure purposes is two hours. For example, when your child is taking a break in the afternoon or during the weekends, you may allow them to borrow your tablet or use the laptop. But after this time has elapsed, encourage them to join you in other productive activities, such as sports, painting, reading, or solving puzzles.
Like all parents, you certainly don’t want to snoop on whatever your child is doing online. There’s a difference between healthily monitoring their online activity and controlling them to the point that you dictate what they do online.
A good way to go about this is to make sure that your child is using electronic devices in shared living spaces in the house. Or you could also set up a family computer that everyone can use, where it is within plain view of everyone in the room.
It’s also important that you’re a person that your child trusts enough with expressing themselves. There are cases where children who are victims of cyberbullying aren’t able to talk about their issues simply because of the shame that they may unknowingly associate with it.
With this in mind, always make it a point to tell your child that you’re there for them and that they can count on you to be able to share their thoughts. Create a healthy environment where you can provide a listening ear to your child and understand their experiences without any judgment. Take this opportunity to give them practical advice on how they spend their time online and also bring them comfort.
Making sure that your child doesn’t experience cyberbullying doesn’t only mean that they don’t get victimized, but also that they won’t be perpetrators of this harmful act. This can also be prevented by setting a good example for your child.
Show your child that you also don’t tolerate any form of bullying in the home. Your child may observe this in the way that you talk and interact with the other people around you.
For example, it’s always best to resort to a calm and reasonable tone whenever you’re talking to a helper or someone in the house that has made a mistake. This may reinforce the idea that resorting to violence or hurtful words isn’t the way to go. The more consistently that your child sees this from you, the more likely they’d also apply it to how they interact with other people.
If your child has unfortunately been the victim of online bullying, then it’s important that you don’t blame them. Don’t use berating language that will make it seem as if it’s your child’s fault that they were even bullied in the first place. As mentioned before, you should adopt a welcoming and understanding tone whenever they go to you to voice out their problem.
Instead of shifting the blame to your child, try to give advice that your child might find useful or helpful. This may teach them how to be less tolerable of cyberbullying and stand up for themselves in a healthy way.
Knowing how to protect your child from cyberbullying starts with being understanding and open to your child about this issue. While limiting the time they spend online is an important tip, you may also want to address other emotional and social concerns.
Cyberbullying is a multifaceted and complex issue — but that doesn’t mean that you’re powerless as a parent when it comes to giving your child the protection they need. By listening to them, setting a good example, and becoming less critical about their thoughts, you’ll definitely help your child combat this negative experience.