In this day and age the incidence of cyber bullying has increased tremendously, leading to suicides, low self-esteem and a lack of communication between parents and their children.
Kenny Ossen, director of communications and broadcast media for SocialShield Inc. has developed some tips to help parents and children communicate with each other to prevent cyber-bullying.
1. Encourage a positive online reputation:
Over-sharing, cyber-bullying and other online hazards can seriously affect kids’ online reputations. The most direct precaution to take against these risks is to talk to your kids about how they use the Internet.
Explain how their activity on social networking sites can affect them and attract unwanted attention. If they have more time on their hands during the summer vacation, come up with strategies for using web sites safely and wisely.
2. Keep computer usage in shared family rooms:
The best way to monitor your child’s online activity is to put the computer in your living or any family rooms, especially if they’re going to be around the house more often during the summer. This also encourages family bonding moments with fun sites such as YouTube.
3. Discuss technology use:
If your child has just received a new Smartphone or iPad, now is the time to set ground rules or limitations on how often they use these devices. With more personal ways to access the Internet – and more time to spare during vacation, kids should not be spending all their time online. Also make sure that with their current free time they aren’t befriending random people just out of boredom.
4. Reinforce courtesy and politeness:
Although you can’t control the behavior of everybody your kids interact with online, you can stress the importance of being polite to avoid bullying and minimize arguments. Remind your kids that it’s just as important to be considerate and compassionate on the Internet as it is in the real world.
5. Block or filter sites if necessary:
Kids can be impulsive, and they might get restless after a few days away from school during their holiday break. With monitoring software and services, you can have a better idea of how they’re spending their time online.
6. Make strict rules about chat rooms and chat software:
Unfortunately, chat rooms are havens for cyber bullies and online predators. And it’s not just your kids who are on a holiday vacation! Parents of young kids may want to disallow chat rooms altogether, or you can only allow your kids to chat with known and approved friends.
7. Monitor downloads:
Free downloads that kids get really excited about – music, videos, games – can make your system vulnerable to viruses, spyware or attacks. Encourage your kids to ask permission before downloading anything onto the computer, or find holiday music or games that you can download and enjoy together.
SocialShield is a social network protection system that intends to protect children ranging from the ages of 10 to 15 years old. It provides parents affordable, easy-to-use, state-of-the-art tools to help them protect their kids’ from online predators. SocialShield’s patent-pending technology flags parents about their children’s activities on popular social networks so they can feel comfortable about who their children interact with on the internet, what photos and conversations are being posted, and where children have profiles.