As a parent you certainly will be able to recognize the signs of bullying, right? You will know right away when your child isn’t feeling comfortable with his or her school surroundings—you’ll see physical signs (ripped clothing or a black eye) or sense emotional trouble (afraid to go to school or a change in behavior). But, what if the signs aren’t so obvious, or, even worse, what if the bullying doesn’t stop even when your child is safe inside your home?
Cyberbullying has become one of today’s biggest parenting issues with a staggering 42% of teens having been bullied online–58% of those teens say they have not told their parents or another adult about the incidents. So, while technology has made it easier for our teens to communicate with one another and even with us, it is also providing a new avenue of risk—and one that had very dangerous and sometimes deadly consequences.
While it may be difficult to spot cyberbullying as it happens, there are some things parents can do to keep their teens safe. Here a few of my tips from my new e-book, Safe Text: Protecting Your Teens from the Dangers of Texting:
Use technology to fight technology
There are a wide variety of free and fee-based filtering and blocking software applications that may help minimize the possibility of incidents. I have several of these applications listed in the “Resources” section of my book.
Educate your teens about acceptable online behavior
Teach your teens how to choose online friends wisely and what behaviors to look for that may make it necessary to cut the online ties with some of their acquaintances. Encourage your teens to not respond to a cyberbully and show them how to block people from sending them messages.
Draw up a contract
Make your teen aware that using a cell phone is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, it comes with numerous responsibilities—including always telling an adult when they feel they are being cyberbullied. A sample of a parent/teen contact is available in my e-book.
For more tips and insight, please checkout my new ebook. And, don’t forget to send us your best tip for keeping teens safe while texting. Comment on this blog, post on our Facebook page or send us a tweet using the hashtag #safetext with you best teen texting advice. At the end of this month, we will randomly choose someone who has sent us a tip to receive a $25.00 Amazon gift certificate.