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Bullying is an age-old problem, but the way that bullies target their victims is changing. Due to advances in technology, these individuals have greater access to target victims and can even do so anonymously. If you are a parent, it is important to understand how online bullying works so that you can help your child avoid it.
In the wake of school shootings and increasing numbers of suicides by children, bullying is taken very seriously. Sometimes it still occurs even if you have done all you can as a parent to stop it. It may be time to consider your legal options. If your family has been seriously impacted by bullying, speak to an injury attorney at Kisling, Nestico & Redick today.
Many bullies choose to target their victims online, because social media accounts allow them to harass, intimidate, insult, threaten, and tease victims at any time. Whereas bullying once was common in face-to-face conversations, now children may experience bullying through email, social media accounts, and social media applications.
Electronic devices are now so common that children need to learn about online bullying from an early age. This can help prevent your child from bullying others as well as reducing the chances that your child becomes a victim. You will want to talk to your child about:
Many parents worry about their child being victimized by strangers online. It is important to discuss not only the danger of talking to strangers online, but how one’s children communicate with their peers. Social media applications and phones allow children to engage in group discussions. Being bullied by a group can make a child feel even more ostracized than being bullied by an individual.
Educate your child about online bullying early and often. Discussing appropriate use of online communication while your child is still young encourages them to talk to you about the problem as they grow older.
Establishing good online communication habits early on will help your child mature into a responsible teenager and adult. You can use phone settings to ensure that your child is using social media and other applications in a way that is appropriate with their age. Consider your child’s understanding of safe online communication before allowing them to create social media accounts. There is nothing wrong with requiring your child to provide you passwords so that you can view their online activity.
As your child grows older and demonstrates that he or she understands how to communicate online responsibly, you may consider allowing them more freedom to use electronic communication without supervision. Make sure that your child understands not only what type of communication is appropriate, but also how to limit their time online.
What if you discover that your child has been targeting other children with inappropriate remarks, insults, or threats? Confront your child about their online communication, and remind them of the effects that their words can have on others. Consider taking away their phone or restricting use of computers and other devices until your child demonstrates that they can communicate online appropriately.
Your child should understand that bullying is not acceptable and can even result in being charged with a crime. Explain how bullying makes others feel, and how it can impact your child’s future.
If your child has been a victim of bullying, speak to them about what happened and how it made them feel. Bullying can cause emotional distress that can even reach such a severe level that a child is diagnosed with a psychological problem such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Save any evidence available that the bullying is occurring. If you need to contact your child’s school or go to the authorities, this will be important later. If the online bullying involves threats of physical harm or is continuous despite your child’s requests for it to stop, contact police. Investigators may be able to trace where the harassing communication is coming from if the online bully is communicating anonymously.
Do you have a concern about online bullying? Reach out to an attorney for help. Our attorneys at Kisling, Nestico & Redick understand the serious impact online bullying can have on a child. We are here to help you consider your legal options and take steps to stop online bullying. Contact our office to schedule a consultation by calling 1-800-HURT-NOW.