Cyber Bullying & How to Handle it
The world is online. Everyone and their grandmothers are on social media these days. Kids, the 'millennials', are most certainly surfing the World Wide Web, and are often the subject of cyber bullying.
•Also known as 'online bullying', it takes several different forms.
•Any content, chat, or interaction that takes place electronically and which hurts your child's feelings is cyber bullying at its darkest.
•Speaking of dark, there are all sorts of nasties and predators on the internet who are weak and damaged, and end up shedding that baggage on innocent kids who do not intentionally cross paths with them.
•From gaming to chatting, social media to wherever else your kids spend time online, they are not one-hundred-percent safe from the cruelties of cyber bullies.
On a lighter note, there is hope...
1. Everyone is Different, Nobody Is The Same
This is an important lesson that most kids who are being cyber-bullied might not have the time or heart to care about.
•As parents, you need to teach your children - or rather, remind them - that they are different. And on a similar note, so is everyone else. Your child may be kind, but another could just as well be cruel.
•The semi-harsh nature of this lesson should definitely not deter you from bringing it up with your kids. Remember, online bullying is harsher.
2. Belief Systems
In the same spirit as the previous point, note the importance of diverse belief systems.
•Those who are online with tendencies to bully are not always out to get others.
•They might in all innocence say something they believe is true, which then ends up hurting your kid who reads it, and who might never have heard of that particular perspective before.
•Teach your children to understand that not everything they read online is necessarily true, and that the 'bully' in question could have been experiencing their own issues that led to them saying what they said.
3. Refrain From Re-Reading
You must teach your kids to stop re-reading negative comments online.
•Basic human curiosity drives one to read and re-read something that hurts them, or makes them feel 'less than'.
•Teach your children to systematically learn how to calm their mind and close the online window, chat box, or tab that contains something offensive or emotionally hurtful.
•Once their eyes are off the subject of their angst, they can relatively quickly move forward.
•This is the simplest most effective technique on this list. Prevention may be better than a cure, but avoiding helps just as effectively.
4. Tech Break
If all else fails, just put your kids on a technology break.
•Turn off the computer, and any other electronics.
•Get your kids ready for an outing; restaurants, movies, etc.
•Take their minds off the digital world and replace it with another activity, one that's totally different from anything digital.
•The key is to REPLACE, not leave a void during which they can easily go back to thinking and re-thinking about what someone said to them online.
Cyber bullying can be a terrible experience. Even the strongest hearts suffer its toxic sting. It will certainly be hard for parents to themselves see what someone online said to or about their child. Keeping an open home or family atmosphere can work wonders, because then kids will readily approach their parents in case they experience online abuse. There are digital tools to help you, in case your kids are not too forthcoming. At the end of the day, their safety and emotional health is all that matters.