Thank you to Consumer Notice for reaching out to share the valuable information in Internet Safety for Kids. The following post is a compilation of excerpts from their comprehensive guide.
Threats to children’s internet safety include invasions of privacy, cyberbullying, sexting and harassment. Options to protect your children include parental controls, apps and tracking software. But the most effective way to keep your kids safe is to talk with them about online risks, how to avoid them and how they can come to you when something goes wrong.
Internet safety for kids depends on parents being aware of online risks and understanding how to help their children and teens avoid them.
Almost every American child and teen has access to the internet. They socialize in online games or on smartphones just as they would on a playground. They live largely in a digital community. But like any community, there are risks and dangers.
You should teach your child not only about how to respond to cyberbullying, but also how not to [carry out bullying].
Kids and teens socialize online and on their smartphones just like they do in person. Teach your child to behave online just as they would in person and the risk of cyberbullying goes down.
Most Teens Have Been Cyberbullied
Nearly 60 percent of American teens report having been cyberbullied, according to the Pew Research Center. A majority also consider cyberbullying a major problem. The Pew Research Center also found that teens believe teachers, social media platforms and politicians are failing at dealing with the problem.
The Pew Research Center found that similar numbers of girls and boys [experiencing] cyberbullying, but girls were more likely to be victimized by false rumors and nonconsensual explicit messages.
Nearly six in 10 parents worry about their teens being cyberbullied, according to the Pew Research Center. Most believe they can teach their teens how to handle the problem. But teens won’t always tell their parents. That means adults need to know the signs that their teens are being cyberbullied.
Signs Your Child Is Being Cyberbullied
- No longer using the internet or checking their phone
- Showing stress when they get emails, texts or other alerts
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Not wanting to go to social or school events
- Showing signs of low self-esteem, depression or fear
- Having declining grades
- Losing their appetite or having trouble sleeping
- Having suicidal thoughts
What Parents Can Do
Most kids think their parents do the best job of any adults in helping them deal with [those who carry out cyberbullying]. Teens ranked them well above law enforcement, teachers and social media sites, according to the Pew Research Center.
Parents have to take an active role to help their children. The National Center on Missing and Exploited Children recommends you teach your children to not respond to [those who carry out cyberbullying], save the evidence and report it to the app or website.
You should also meet with school administrators to discuss the schools bullying and cyberbullying policy and ask for a plan of action. You should also discuss the situation with the bully’s parents or guardians.
And remind your children that it’s their responsibility to report if they know someone is being cyberbullied.
Teach Your Child How to Stand Up for Cyberbully Victims
- Don’t comment on posts that insult or harass others.
- Don’t forward embarrassing photos or messages.
- Report cyberbullying to the website or app.
- Support the victim, be a good friend and show [those who carry out cyberbullying] you won’t join their harassment.
- Tell a teacher at school if it involves a classmate.
View the full Internet Safety for Kids guide, written by Terry Turner and edited by Kim Borwick.
Explore more cyberbullying prevention tips and resources.