Helping a cyber bullying can seem like an impossible task. Especially given that we as parents just may not be as tech savvy as our kids... Parents like me who rely on their kids to solve their tech issues.
I know some parents are all over the tech stuff and still struggle to deal with it.
Helping a cyber bully to make the most out of a bad situation is the best we can hope for. Generally, parents of a certain age (; see online and offline as two seperate worlds. This has added to the confusion about cyber bullying and blinded some parents to some of the easier solutions.
Our children see online life as just as real as you and I getting together to have coffee.
No, we can't ask our children to stay offline. They use it to socialize and there are too many benefits for them to stay online. But we can help them be aware of the threats and deal with cyber bullying when it happens.
So, what can we do...we can start looking at it as a human, social, cultural problem as opposed to a cyber problem.
First, we need to realize the "cyber world" is not seperate. The internet is a communication device used and abused. People torment and bully online for a range of reasons that include immaturity, mental illness, being drunk, making a mistake or the wrong choice. They find someone they can hold in contempt for whatever petty reason just like offline.
Lets start looking at this as a human problem not a tech problem
1) Start by investigating the bully. Chances are the bully is sad, depressed, isolated, mentally ill or reacting to bullying they have received and attempting to lash out. Just like offline bullies. Lets get them the help they need.
2) Lets stop fighting against cyber bullies. This is not a fight...we do not need to beat them into submission or try taking them out... They are people just like you and I. Laws of physics state anything you push against pushes back...Violence gets more violence.
3) The answers for online are much the same as offline. Keeping informed, guiding our children as best we can and building character. Respect, confidence, high self esteem so they can cope with whatever comes up.
4) Put Limits and boundaries around the bullies use of tech devices. This can be a short term solution and be very severe and then as the child proves they are not bullying you can ease the limits and boundaries but should also be considered for long term.
5) Heavily monitor all tech devices. Your child gave up the right to confidentiality or privacy the minute they started cyber bullying. All devices should be monitored daily at first and then as time goes on you can create a plan that works better for both of you.
If we decided to STOP...
1) STOP feeding the crap they put out. We should all put on our white hats go online and stop allowing flamers to interrupt valid and educational debates. What if they were simply ignored, deleted, or circumvented. They want a response...we just choose not to give it to them.
2) Refuse to give intentional or un-intentional support to the bully. Refuse to engage with "likes" and "dislikes"
3) What if the majority of people who witness, involved or not, stopped reading anything abusive, STOP sharing and just delete them or report them to the moderator??
4) What if we chose to post clear, non-abusive messages that let the bully know this type of abuse is not accepted. There is help for them if they ask...No debate...
5) What if we stood up for our wives, daughters, sisters, friends, children, developmentally challenged and chose not to engage and simply expressed empathy.
As bystanders we are as much a part of it as the bully. Just like in the offline world. If we take away the audience they would quickly figure out whatever need he was trying to have met would need to find a different outlet.
Helping a Cyber bully problem solve and come up with solutions so they can stop bullying is an important task for parents. However, I know as your coach you can do this!
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