I'm Standing Up Against Cyberbullying
Growing up in an environment where anyone can say anything about you anonymously can cause some really stressful situations for our children today. Protecting our children online is just as important as keeping them safe in the outside world.
Children can be exposed to so many experiences on the internet, that can affect their lives dramatically. If they are not monitored they could be exposed to cyberbullying, they could see sexual or violent images, or have contact with strangers which could put them at risk.
Like all protection activities, the sooner we teach children to be safe online the better.
Here are some startling statistics*
40% of children chatted to a stranger online
of these children 53% revealed their phone number
15% tried to meet the stranger
6% revealed their home address!!
1. Start the conversation with your children about Internet safety.
Teach them that there are websites that have something called “Malware” these sites have software that damages devices, steals data, and causes chaos. Children need to stay on safe sites that you have approved. It is important that we show children we are not trying to stop them from having fun!! - We are just trying to keep them safe.
2. Take a moment to review your computer safety settings.
Here’s how to find them: Chrome: Settings Advanced Privacy and security Edge: Settings Advanced settings Firefox: Options Privacy & Security Safari: Preferences Privacy To quickly check if a site is legitimate or if a specific URL is safe, you can use a website safety checker like Google Safe Browsing.
3. It is always a good idea to let your children use their devices in common areas of the house where you can keep an eye on them.
Bed time is for sleeping and it is always a good idea not to let them take their phone to bed. Find out about the social networking sites your child uses like Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube. If your child is using a new App - try to find out about it as there are many that do not have safety protocols to protect children.
4. We need to remind children that people may not be who they say they are on the internet,
they may lie about their age, their name and even what sex they are. It is important never to give details likeYour full name,Your addressYou phone numberYour passwordAnd never ever meet up with a stranger.
5. Do fun things together with your child on the internet.
That way you can browse different sites and they can learn from your example as you could say - “Oh that doesn’t look like a safe site” I think we will look for something else. By exploring the internet with your child, you can also find out about what interests they have, and what they enjoy watching. You could bookmark some of their favourite sites so that they can find them easily and they are not searching the internet unnecessarily.
6. Help your child set up their internet accounts and show them fun ways of creating safe passwords.
Like using their favourite superhero combined with their favourite drink or sweets. Something nobody else would know. Also make a note of their passwords so you can keep an eye on their internet activities.
7. A good indication that they are being bullied, groomed or that they may have seen something upsetting, is to watch for any changes in their behaviour. They may become secretive, withdrawn, anxious or angry.
8. Some sexual predators try to win children over with gifts. These can be given through games, or maybe even through the post. Keep an eye out if your child starts to play on games that have in app purchases that are being paid for.
9. It is always a good idea to check your child’s browser history and see the websites they have been visiting. Also check the recycle bin to see if they have tried to delete any images.
10. Find out how to add filters to your web browser so that inappropriate sites can be blocked.
11. If your child is being bullied in any way, take screen shots of any harmful content. It always helps when you are reporting to show a pattern of abuse. If it is a class mate, you can report the cyberbullying to the school.If it is on social media you can contact the site owners to have the post/ posts removed. If you feel your child is in danger or any illegal behaviour is occurring, please report it to the police immediately.
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