Teenagers today enjoy sharing photos online, communicating with friends through Messenger, emails, chat rooms and social media. This may seem fun as this gives them the opportunity to make friends online, but the downside of this is Cyberbullying ~ a type of bullying that happens online or thru text messages or emails.
Instead of strengthening connections, some teens use social media to harass or humiliate others. Some may send inappropriate messages while others spread rumors or make fun of someone. With the widespread use of internet among teenagers today, we need to make sure they are safe on this kind of online threat.
Here are some tips to help protect your teens against Cyberbullying:
1. Be Kind Online
Your online activity reflects who you are as a person. Always treat others how you want to be treated. Being helpful and kind online is the best way to keep the Internet safe and fun for everybody. If you happened to receive a negative comment respond to it in a positive way.
Always refuse to participate in any negative online behavior. Instead, support campaigns that will help others become responsible online.
As an educator, I am thankful for campaigns like the #makeITsafePH of Globe Telecom, a cybersecurity and cyberwellness campaign to educate consumers about online threats and what they can do to avoid becoming a victim. This campaign includes the Digital Thumbprint Program, a campaign that teaches teens how to understand the impact of their online behavior and how to be safe and responsible for their online activities. Campaigns like this will surely help in spreading kindness online.
2. Think Before You Post
Before you post anything online, think first! The 4 Way Test of the Rotary is a helpful tool for your teens in providing a more sensible post online.
- Is it the TRUTH? – If its not true then don’t post it. Never spread it!
- Is it FAIR to all concerned? – If your posts is not fair to all and might embarrass someone never post it online.
- Will it build GOODWILL and better FRIENDSHIPS? – If your post will only ruin friendships never post it. Never share anything that may hurt or embarrass anyone.
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? – Will your post benefit you and the one reading it?
Another thing to remember is, never open unidentified messages. Never click any suspicious links even if they look very interesting.
3. Secure Passwords
Set strong passwords. Never share your passwords to others, not even your bestfriend. It is also important that you log out of your email and social media accounts after using a public computer.
4. Manage Privacy Settings
Privacy settings control who can see your profile and private posts. Restrict your online profile to friends only. Only connect and share with people you know in real life.
5. Monitor Online Activities
Monitor your child’s activities online. Add them as friends on your social media sites. Educate them about what is and what is not okay to do online. Tell them that they can freely share any messages they get online that makes them sad or scared.
Cyberbullying is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. It can lead to psychological implications such as depression and violence and it can also lead to school failure. We need to do something now so that we can protect the younger generation against it.