Five things every parent should know about cyberbullying in the era of e-learning

As a parent, you need to care about your child’s emotional well-being, as well as their physical health and academic success. While bullying is a problem with in-person learning, cyberbullying can be a significant issue in the era of e-learning. Part of parenting is protecting your child from cyberbullying and helping them overcome it if they are cyberbullied. This is particularly important since the Child Online Safety Index estimates that about 60 per cent of children between ages 8 and 12 have a cyber risk, something that includes cyberbullying. Here are 5 things every parent should know to help achieve that goal. 

Know the apps your child uses

A great deal of cyberbullying takes place on applications that have nothing to do with your child’s education. Even so, e-learning means your child spends more time on these apps and, therefore, has a potentially greater exposure to cyberbullying. As such, one of the 5 things every parent should know is which apps your child uses. 

Some of the most popular applications, all of which are appropriate for children age 13 and higher, when used properly, include Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, TikTok, and Tellonym. Take a few minutes to understand how these apps work, as well. 

Know what your child does online

In addition to the apps that your child uses, part of parenting is knowing what your child does while they are online. If you know how they spend their time, you will be better able to assess the risks, both for cyberbullying and cybersecurity. 

Depending on the age of your child, make sure you do not take this too far. Knowing what your child does online does not mean monitoring every single second that they are online. This will feel like an invasion of privacy and that you do not trust them. Instead, find out what they do online by occasionally asking them what they are working on and talking to them about what they did. 

Know what to post and not post about your child

It is natural to want to brag about your child or show off cute pictures of them, but you need to realize that in the age of e-learning and high levels of internet usage, what you post can have unintended consequences. 

One of the 5 things parents should know is to avoid posting photos or information online that may cause them embarrassment in the future. If you do so, you could accidentally provide their peers with the material they need for cyberbullying. 

Similarly, make sure you never post information that your child shared in confidence because this will ruin their trust in you. You want them to feel comfortable approaching you if they are cyberbullied or have any other concerns in the future. 

Know what to do if your child is cyberbullied

While you obviously want to avoid cyberbullying, it still may happen. Among the 5 things every parent should know is what to do if your child is cyberbullied. Start by not responding or encouraging the behavior in any way. Take screenshots of the cyberbullying, preferably including dates and times. 

Block the person who participated in the cyberbullying and/or the post in which they bullied. You should also report the incident. If the bully goes to the same school as your child, you can report it to the school or district, and they should take action. Most importantly, be sure to talk to your child about the bullying. 

Know how to make your child comfortable approaching you

Part of parenting is ensuring that your child feels comfortable coming to you with their problems, including cyberbullying. From a young age, encourage openness and honesty with your child. Let them know that they can come to you with problems and always expect support or advice. This is crucial since research indicates cyberbullying can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts. 

Make this a pattern with your child when they are young, and they will be more likely to come to you in the future if they experience cyberbullying or any other problems. After all, you will only be able to help your child if you know that there is a problem in the first place. 

With a better idea of these 5 things parents should know about cyberbullying, you can focus on your child’s education instead of worrying. 


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