Friday, June 24, 2016

Cyber Bully-Proof Your Home - 5 Steps Parents Need To Know and Take!

One in three children is cyber bullied in his or her online life. Daily, countless youth are the targets of chronic humiliation, aggression, and abuse perpetrated through different kinds of electronic communication. Often, parents/guardians don't know their children are being cyber bullied, and /or don't find out until harm has occurred or until the situation has reached a crisis situation. Enough is enough!  It is time to cyber bully-proof your home!

                                   There are 5 steps parents need to  know and take – now!

Safety First!
First: Parents and Guardians, you must establish a Family Online Agreement.  This is mandatory! This is a contract between you and your children that establishes rules and expectations about their online behavior.  At the same time, the contract makes clear what the parents’ roles and responsibilities are.  As children age and demonstrate maturity with their online behavior, the agreement can be amended or changed.  An excellent example of a contract can be downloaded from 

Second: Implement quick and practical Safety Measures. Once you turn over a piece of technology to your children, you must implement four safety measures.  One, protect passwords by teaching children not to share them. Two, protect profiles by teaching children to limit the amount and kinds of information they post online. Three, obtain filtering and monitoring software. And fourth, monitor your children’s online reputation!  Yes, monitor them!  Parents, you are not snooping or invading your children’s privacy. You are protecting them – that is your job. 

Know your children's Net Neighborhood.

Thirdly: Get to know your children’s Net Neighborhood.  When our children start to become social, responsible parents typically want to know three things: where are their children going; who are they going with; and what are they going to be doing? Whether it is in their real life or their online life, children can easily be put in danger. Sit down with your children and get to know their Net Neighborhood! Find out where they are spending time and with whom!  Talk with them; learn from them; and teach them what is safe and what is not.

Fourth: Prepare a Crises Plan.  If your child is being cyber bullied, take three steps. (1) STOP and do not respond to the behavior. (2) SAVE and PRINT OUT the cyber bullying message.  (3) Children need to SHARE the information with trusted adults and parents need to REPORT it to proper authorities (if necessary). Also, if your children are being cyber bullied to the degree that they are in serious or constant danger and/ or that they feel hopeless or helpless, implement a crises plan.  First, make sure that your children know they are SAFE.  Second, SURROUND THEM WITH SUPPORT. Third, many victims respond well when they learn STRONG SOCIAL SKILLS. (For More information on this, pick up a copy of  Cyber Bullying No More: Parenting A High Tech Generation ).

Fifth: Insist on Cyber Balance.  This may sound weird or foreign. Parents, it is vital that children and adults spend time together without their technology. We must insist on cyber balance in our lives. Why? Because the only way to experience empathy for another human being and understand the impact our words or actions have on another person is to spend time together – FACE TO FACE. Parents, you  must  model compassionate, respectful, kind and giving behavior! Remember, our behaviors teach them and influence more than we know!

Talk. Listen. Share.
Before we conclude, parents/guardians, if your child is cyber bullying others, please implement the following three strategies or what I call the "3 C's":

Contract. If you child is cyber bullying, this demonstrates a lack of responsibility in proper usage of his/her technology.  If a Family Online Safety Contract  is not already in place, implement one.  If one is in place, reinforce and/or amend the rules and expectations.  Talk about what is appropriate behavior and what is not.  A “time-out” or “limiting time” from technology is sensible.  However, without communication and ownership of wrong-doing, it does little to change behavior.

Consequences: Consequences should be reasonable and in-line with the degree of offense. Research supports that making meaningful amends to the victim or implementing restorative justice measures benefits both the bully and the victim. Avoid punishment for punishment sake or taking away technology altogether. This does nothing to change behaviors or attitudes.

Counsel and Connect: Many cyber bullies demonstrate a lack of regard or respect for the well-being of others. In short, they lack empathy. Through counseling or other empathy-building groups (such as youth groups, clubs, teams) or gatherings (such as family time, celebrations, holidays), purposefully integrate exercises and activities into your routines or practices which promote kindness, mutual respect, and compassion for one another.When children learn how to connect with the feelings of others, they are more likely to value them. 

Building Connections!
Parents and Guardians, this may sound like a lot of work, but as I often say…

”When it comes to our children, it is better to do the hard work up front 
than live with the heartache in the end”.  

For more valuable tools which are easy to implment, pick up your copy of... Cyber Bullying No More: Parenting A High Tech Generation

Please stop by Holli Kenley's Website   and like us @ Author Holli Kenley !
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Check out Holli's exciting new and empowering novel for tweens - teens  -
Another Way!

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