10 Ways Parents Can Prevent Cyberbullying

I've seen lots of material online and from my daughter's school about how to respond to cyberbullying. But if I can prevent it from happening in the first place, that's even better. All parents should know the top 10 ways we can prevent cyberbullying.

  1. Promote self-esteem and confidence. Encourage them to find activities they enjoy and develop skills to be proud of. Confident kids are less likely to be picked on, and they're also better able to shrug off bullying if it does happen

  2. Let them know it's okay to confide in you. Kids need to know that they can tell you anything – good or bad – and you won't over react.  

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Lessons Learned from Cyberbullying

Unwelcome sexting, abusive text messages, digital public humiliation and social media harassment all fall under the umbrella of cyberbullying. The sobering realities of cyberbullying have become so prevalent that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) published a "Cyberbullying and Sexting: Law Enforcement Perceptions" bulletin advising agencies that "94 percent of school resource officers agreed that cyberbullying was a serious problem warranting a law enforcement response."

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Sexting Is Just the Beginning

With the relatively new ability to send images and videos through technology, people of all ages are taking advantage of this ability to connect to others. Unfortunately, it has also led to the evolution of “sexting.” While this is legal for adults (but still risky), it is not for minors and can have serious consequences on a minor’s emotional state, not to mention their professional and academic future.

Depending on the minor, the situation in which the sexting occurs, and how it is handled, the ramifications can vary greatly. However, it almost always leads to some negative effects for the teen.

What It Can Lead To

While parents may be aware of certain repercussions of sexting, there are a wide variety of consequences that even the most conscientious parents may not be aware of. Regrettably, it can lead to the following negative effects: 
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Digital Parenting: 11 Facts About Cyberbullying

Earlier today we published an article that demonstrates how parents can use cyberbullying facts and resources to protect kids and teens from cyberbullying dangers. View these facts to further educate yourself on the issue of cyberbullying. These statistics were originally published on DoSomething.org and we encourage you to check out their site.

“Cyberbullying” is defined as a young person tormenting, threatening, harassing, or embarrassing another young person using the Internet or other technologies, like cell phones. The psychological and emotional outcomes of cyberbullying are similar to those of real-life bullying. The difference is, real-life bullying often ends when school ends. For cyberbullying, there is no escape. And, it’s getting worse. Read on to get the facts.

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Understanding Cyberbullying: Why It Happens and How To Prevent It

In recent years, the news media coverage has exploded with tragic stories and consequences of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as bullying that occurs over electronic devices, often through texting, email or through social media websites such as Facebook. Bullies can send hurtful messages to other children, post embarrassing pictures of their peers on facebook, or send hateful email messages.

Cyberbullying takes on the same form as face to face bullying. The cyberbully will have a clear intent to harm the victim (either emotionally or by threatening them with physical harm), perceivable aggression in the messages, and a perceived or obvious imbalance of power over the victim by the cyberbully.

The abuse that children endure at the hands of cyberbullies leave many parents, teachers, and guardians wondering what causes the bullying to happen in the first place. Cyberbullies engage in harmful behaviors towards their peers for many reasons:

  • The cyberbully wants to feel powerful

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10 Reasons to Monitor Your Child's Internet Activity

Some moms, dads, and grandparents I know get a little squeamish about parental monitoring. Are they invading their teen's privacy?

When it comes down to it, parental monitoring isn't about privacy, it's about safety. Here are 10 reasons for every parent to start monitoring their child's Internet activity.

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Teaching Children About Internet Security Right From The Start

There is never a time too early in the life of a child to start thinking about Internet security. Children of younger and younger ages are starting to get a glimpse into the world of the Internet, and many are potentially at risk if they are not informed of what they should and should not do. 

Have A Conversation

Before you ever get into the technical aspects of what you can do to keep your child safe online, it is a good idea to simply have a conversation with them. You can explain to them the steps to take if they are confronted by someone online that they do not know.

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How To Approach Punishing Your Teen For a Digital Slip-Up

From catching your teen sexting, to finding out that they violated your phone contract, digital slip-ups are never fun to deal with. It is not surprising that teens and parents often experience power struggles over digital rules and privileges. Teens are often given such high responsibility with technology at such young ages, that it is natural that there are going to be some problems. Digital rule-breaking is still a relatively new avenue of parenting that requires specific attention and action. 

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Internet Security Question: Is Someone Spying on Your Kids?

You're a 21st-century parent who embraces the wonders of the Internet. This is why you allow your kid to roam the web in search of homework answers, to play online games, and to video chat with grandma.

But you're also aware of the online dangers. That's why you allow use of the desktop or laptop only in the living room where everyone can see. And the built-in camera is only available when you're watching.

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Internet Security for Children in the Digital Age

The most important segment of society to keep safe on the Internet is obviously our children. Children are the most vulnerable to being preyed online. They are not as experienced in using the Internet and may not understand the dangers that lurk there. Thus, Internet security is an important topic of conversation to have with your children.

In an article about Internet security and children, Microsoft.com recommends preventing the download of free material online that may contain spyware or viruses: 

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Internet Security For Parents With Young Children

Young children can get into just as much trouble online as their parents. In fact, young children may be more in danger because they do not necessarily know the boundaries of what they should and should not do. Therefore, Internet security should be a primary concern for any parent with a young child. 

Keeping Children Away From Sensitive Information 

Vodaphone.com recommends the following for children under the age of 5: 

KEEP devices like your mobile out of reach and make sure you have passwords/PINs set up on them for the times you might lend them to your child... or for when they simply get hold of them themselves!

It is too easy for a child to start crawling through your personal information and data if they are able to access your phone without having to enter a pin. It is simply the safest to keep those devices locked up and out of reach. 

Curbing Child Identity Theft

Quick facts about the prevalence of identity theft:

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3 Crucial Internet Safety Tips to Teach Your Kids

Now that we live in the digital age, chances are that your children will use the Internet throughout their lives both for work and play. Here are a few things you should teach them early to ensure good Internet security.

1. Keep Personal Details Secret Online

It’s important for children to learn the need for secrecy when browsing the web. Younger children especially tend to be automatically trusting of anyone they meet, especially in cyberspace. They need to understand to never give out their real name, their phone number, their address, or any other personal information on the Internet.

2. Never Meet Up With Strangers

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Cyberbullying: What is it and What Can You Do About it?

Cyberbullying is more than just the latest negative trend to sweep through our communities. It has not only caught on like wildfire, but it seems to be here to stay. Current statistics state that approximately 43% of kids report being bullied online at some point in their adolescence, 1 in 4 report it occurring more than once. Studies also say that 68% of teens agree that it is has become a serious problem. 

So, what is cyberbullying? Cyberbullying has been defined as 'bullying that takes place using electronic technology.' But what does this actually entail? Cyberbullying can come in many different forms and use many different methods. Cyberbullying occurs through the use of a cell phone, computer, or tablet. Methods can vary from a cyberbully using social media sites (such as Facebook or Twitter), text messages (whether group or individual), chat programs, or websites.  

The internet never sleeps, which means cyberbullying can occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It can reach a child during school breaks, at night, or even when they are alone. As with all things on the internet, it can spread quickly and can be extremely complicated to track down the original offender. Deleting the offensive materials can also prove to be especially difficult once they have been posted.

As a parent, cyberbullying can be a daunting issue, especially if you're not tech-savvy. How do you, as a parent, go about handling such a problem? Here are some tips to help you wade through the topic at hand.

Make your child feel safe and secure. Sure, this sounds easy enough but it is the first step to getting the situation under control. Your child needs to know that you fully support them and are dedicated to the same end result - getting the bullying to stop. 

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Study Suggests More Family Dinners to Combat Cyberbullying

The Huffington Post reported on a recent study on cyberbullying that was conducted by the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. One of the conclusions of the study was that regular family dinners, where children can communicate with their parents, is a key to raising awareness of instances of cyberbullying. By being able to be open about how they are being cyberbullied, children can help their parents take action to shield them from the harmful consequences.

The study was based on survey data that was garnered from 18,000 students in 49 schools in Wisconsin. It found that one in five of the respondents had been cyberbullied at least once during the past year.

Family dinners were singled out in the report because they are the most common occasion when children and parents have face to face communication with one another. But the communication can happen in other situations, such as car trips.

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Cyberbullying Laws Around the Globe: Where is Legislation Strongest?

Cyberbullying has become a major problem in this world. Over the past decade, this type of bullying has claimed the lives of many children and adolescents across the globe. It is estimated that half of adolescents have been the victims of cyberbullying. An astonishing one in three children and teens have been victims of online cyberthreats.

The statistics are startling, but not all hope is lost. Because cyberbullying has become such a damaging and deadly issue, lawmakers have created cyberbullying laws to help protect victims from online bullies and to bring these bullies to justice. 

There are several states, countries, and territories across the globe that have implemented strong and seemingly effective cyberbullying laws. Although some locations are prepared to crack down on cyberharassment, others are still catching up with the times. View our list displaying countries and states with strong, average, and loose cyberbullying laws.

The strongest cyberbullying laws in the world:

  • Canada- Under the Education Act, individuals who engage in cyberbullying face suspension from school. Repeat bullies may also face expulsion and possible jail time.

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Taking a Stand: October is National Bullying Prevention Month

Long gone are the days when bullying solely consisted of having your lunch money swiped, receiving "swirlies" in the bathroom, having a "kick me" sign taped to your back, and being tripped in the hallway. With the big part that social media now plays in our daily lives, bullying continues past the ringing of the 3:00pm school bell. Though many instances of bullying are no longer face-to-face, it is becoming more severe and parents need to become aware of this. 

With October being National Bullying Prevention Month, now is the perfect time to talk to your children about bullying. Some parents may think that with better security systems being implemented in schools across the nation, bullying is becoming less of a concern. However, that is far from reality.

According to Harrison Daily, "An estimated 13 million students are bullied annually."

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Sexting Facts and Statistics: Why Parents Should Be Concerned

From all of the news we hear about the span and scope of digital dangers available to youth, it's clear that parents have every right to be worried about the types of activities teens are engaging in online and through phones. It's natural for any parent to be concerned about what their child could be getting into. Although teens may be disgruntled by it, parents have a responsibility to be aware of what is going on and prevent mistakes from being made in kids' digital lives. 

The Rise Of Sexting

If you haven't heard of sexting already, you probably will in the near future. Sexting is sending or receiving a sexually graphic or descriptive text message. Studies show that teen sexting is on the rise and many parents are wholly unaware of it.

Quick facts about sexting:

  • 11% of teens admit they’ve sent pictures to strangers (Cox Communications)

  • 80% of teens who have sexted are under the age of 18 (Cox Communications)

  • Over half (57%) of teens from a 2012 survey reported that they had been asked to send a sext (JAMA)

  • 12% of teen girls feel pressured to sext (The National Campaign)

  • 38% of teen girls and 39% of teen boys say they have had sexually suggestive text messages or emails—originally meant for someone else—shared with them (The National Campaign)

Plus, according to research, those teens who are sexting or propositioned to send a sext are more likely than their peers to have sexual intercourse.

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4 Social Media Posting Tips to Keep You and Your Family Safe

Social media is the easiest way to connect and keep in touch with friends and relatives. It has changed the way we do business and interact in our personal lives. Most people have at least one social media account that they use to regularly “check into” places, like entertainment venues and restaurants, and post photos and status updates. Children use social media as a primary form of communication to keep in touch with their friends in real time.

But can posting to social media and “checking in” to location-aware sites inadvertently be giving away information to people who might have bad intentions, making you or your children easy targets for fraud, crime or predators?

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Survey Discovers High Rates of Teen Cyberbullying & Oversharing Online

Even though state laws and parents are making efforts to combat cyberbullying, the number of teens who have been cyberbullied appears to remain high. Additionally, teens don't often seek out parents to help them when they encounter digital dangers. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Cox Communications have released a survey about teens, technology, and cyberbullying. The survey finds are startling to say the least! Here is an excerpt of major findings of the survey outlined in a NCMEC article:

Key trends among the teens surveyed include:

  • Three in 10 teens claim to have been bullied online (31 percent)

  • One in 10 admits to have bullied someone online

  • Of teens who admit to being bullied online, only 41 percent have told an adult

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Introducing the Latest Anonymous App: Truth

The anonymous app fad continues with the release of a new app called Truth. The ThirdParent Blog recently released an article discussing the new app and how it may be used mostly for cyberbullying and sexting. All parents need to know about the potential dark side of this new app in order to shield tweens and teens from digital dangers. Here is an excerpt from the article:

"Well, parents, a new app called Truth launched this month and it has a shot at being the worst cyberbullying platform out there. Yik Yak and Ask.fm may pale in comparison to how few socially redeeming qualities Truth ends up having if it takes off with teens.

The concept behind Truth is an interesting one. After downloading Truth, users can anonymously message anyone who is already in their phone’s contact list. If the recipient has also downloaded the app, the recipient can view the message but has no indication whatsoever who the sender is. If the recipient is not yet a Truth user, he receives a text message showing part of the message and prompting him to download the app to see the full message. Again, the recipient will have no indication of who sent the message.

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