Parent Magazine St. Johns October 2019 - Page 14

If you notice any interactions that could be cause for usernames and passwords with others; not leaving online alarm, speak to your kids right away. Since kids often accounts accessible and vulnerable on public devices; try to hide the fact that they’re cyberbullied, assure and never opening messages and links from people they them ahead of time that they can always come to you don’t already know. with any problem, no matter how big or small. It’s very important, say Drs. Sameer Hinduja and Justin Patchin of the Cyberbullying Research Center, to “cultivate and maintain open, candid lines of communication with your children, so that they’re ready and willing to come to you whenever they experience something unpleasant or distressing in cyberspace.” Assure your kids ahead of time that you won’t ban them from going online if they come to you for help. As Dr. Michael Nuccitelli, a well-known child psychologist and expert on cyberbullying, says, consistently remind your kids that “they’ll not lose their online privileges, interactive online gaming time, mobile devices or social network site privileges due to cyberbullying issues provided they are open, honest and forthright.” Try not to overreact to situations as this will make your kids think that you’ll overreact if they tell you about being cyberbullied. Your kids should also learn to select appropriate privacy settings on their online accounts, so that they only accept friends or follow requests from people they personally know and allow posts to be broadcast only to their circle of friends or followers. As Mrs. Brown succinctly puts it, “Limiting online exposure helps keep the bullies at bay.” More generally, teach your kids to think carefully before they post anything online. They need to understand the potential repercussions from anything they post, including how certain posts could be used maliciously. A good rule of thumb is to say and do online only what you would say and do face-to-face to someone. Your kids should understand that as soon as they post something, it’s out of their control. Their posts can be forwarded without their knowledge or consent. Ruth Carter, a lawyer who specializes in social media and internet law, says “Kids should be taught early and often that they have no idea when a post will take on a life of its own When you speak to your kids about their online and go places they can’t control.” A more strict but no activities, encourage them not to respond in kind to less useful approach would be to establish actual “rules” wannabe cyberbullies: this will only exacerbate the for your kids’ online activities, including deciding which problem. Tara Fishler, a prominent expert on mediation sites they’re allowed to access, for how long, and what and conflict resolution, says that “responding lets the they are permitted to do on those sites. bully know they affected you. Not posting a response gives you some control so you are not sucked into their harmful activities.” Instead, help block any wannabe cyberbullies from reaching your kids. A final way you can protect your kids from becoming the victims of cyberbullying is to stay in regular contact with their teachers. Since a kid’s cyberbullies are often to be found among his or her class - or school mates, teachers As part of your regular conversations with your kids, are some of the best sources of information about any teach them safe online habits. This includes such basic potential problems at school. It’s important that you online security measures as never revealing identifying, speak to their teachers not just about how they’re doing personal information like their home addresses, phone academically but also socially. Teachers may notice numbers, and where they go to school; not sharing their troubling interactions inside or outside the classroom. “ LIMITING ONLINE EXPOSURE HELPS KEEP THE BULLIES AT BAY.” 14 | S T. J O H N S parent M A G A Z I N E