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Tune into a conversation about the digital world of children and you will inevitably hear the word ‘cyberbullying’.

It is a term that’s been thrown around over the last several years almost seeming as if it might be overkill. Unfortunately, there is good reason that the act of cyberbullying remains at the forefront of digital safety which are mostly due to some staggering statistics.

They Know Not What They Do

Amongst millions of American kids between the ages of 8-17 it is almost unbelievable that approximately 25% of them have been cyber-bullied and 62% have witnessed this type of bullying. However, whether on social media or through direct (text, email) communication, almost all (90%) will not report being cyber-bullied to their parents.  Yet, on the other hand, 68% of kids report that they feel cyberbullying is a problem. Therefore, these kids recognize the seriousness of the problem but don’t trust or understand their parents enough to help stop it. This could be due to many factors including:

  • Not realizing they are being victimized
  • Feeling ashamed
  • Fear of their parents embarrassing them
  • Fear of becoming ostracized from the very people that are abusing them.
  • Fear of being blamed for being bullied.
  • Fear of being caught cyberbullying

With over 80% of kids using mobile phones, the opportunity and vulnerability of bullying rises exponentially. Obviously, fear is a factor that can drive a child right into a bullying situation. This gives parents an opportunity to address it. Focusing on reducing fear in your child can be a good start when dealing with cyberbullying. It can also help them with a huge portion of things they may be challenged with in their lives which, when fearful of such, can consume them.

Getting to the Root Cause

In 2010 it was revealed that 45% of teens hid their online activity from their parents. Recently that number has risen to over 70%. For parents in the digital age, it is becoming more important to be schooled on the intricate computer tools available for keeping an eye on their offspring. If you think its kind of funny that you are technically challenge or choose not to follow current technology, think again. Here are a few stats that might help put it into perspective:

  • Over 50% clear their browser window.
  • About 20% use “invisible” browsing modes.
  • 20% manipulate privacy settings.
  • About 15% open private email accounts.
  • 22% are hacking and/or cheating on tests through various portals, sites, etc.
  • 12% meet people they’ve met online in-person.
  • Many kids use lesser known social media portals beyond the radar of their parents to communicate in more unhealthy, taboo ways.

Even though it is best to not focus on fear, these numbers are for parents to use as an offensive approach to making sure their kid doesn’t become one. More frightening stats exist in extreme cases of cyberbullying but hopefully those numbers will diminish as more parents take action.

Have a Conversation

Sitting down with your child and having a non-confrontational, minimally fear-driven conversation about cyberbullying is the best way to begin eliminating it. Let your child know that their safety is beyond their control in such a rapid, cloaked, daily maneuverable digital Wild West. Inform them that you would like to track their text messages, emails, phone logs, and social media only when you ask their permission. This transparency offers an opportunity to build parent-child trust. Recent numbers show the percentages of the result of proactive digital parents.

  • Over 10% use locator tracking software.
  • 44.3% know their child’s password(s).
  • Almost half (49.1%) install parental controls.
  • About 27% confiscate their teens device(s).

The last statistic here is not recommended unless under forced circumstances. The same goes for installing tracking software without your child’s knowledge. This would fall under situations out of your control that may involve drugs, underage sex, or other criminal activity. It’s situations like these where it may be acceptable to override a more copacetic arrangement. Under these circumstances, seeking out the advice of a professional therapist may help as well.

The Village Vibe

taying connected to other parents that may have the same challenges as you could be another way to help defend against cyberbullying. Share information with one another no matter how inconsequential you may think it is. So many teens nowadays have limited ‘digital street smarts’ with many of them not taking their own proactive steps to stop cyberbullying and other online threats.

  • 91% use their own photo and name on social media.
  • 64% have public Twitter accounts.
  • 20% list their cell phone number.
  • 39% have public or partially public Facebook accounts.

Creating a community of trained, well informed parents and children when it comes to cyberbullying makes eradicating it that much more possible.

For some parents, it can be difficult to juggle a career and/or home responsibilities while adding on digital hyper-vigilance. However, in the long run, children that come from homes that are proactive across the board will inevitably grow up wiser, safer and savvier in digital as well as non-digital experiences.

Thank you for joining us today and you will want to claim your free eCourse on Helping Your Child Make Friends.  Claim it at http://www.The  You will be glad you did.

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