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Not so friendly acquaintance.

Very different from schoolyard scuffles, cyber bullying has the same negative impact on people’s lives, if not more.

Cyber bullying can be defined as a form of electronic harassment that happens over an electronic platform, like social media or gaming platforms and instant messaging. Your child might be exposed through email, comments or text messages.  

Cyber bullying can take various forms such as abusive texts, online comments or even images or video being circulated without a person’s consent. Young people are particularly susceptible to cyber bullying and it often focuses on what a young person appearance like the clothes they wear. This would normally be detrimental to the young person’s self-esteem, ultimately impacting their daily lives and if not addressed, mental health.

What if?

As a parent you need to talk with your child about the situation, discuss some behavioral changes they can make to avoid scenarios where they are susceptible to cyber bullying. Smart devices are here to stay. Much of their future life will be conducted online or via their mobile device. This makes the development of protective strategies to deal with online criticism or bullying an important skill for lifelong self-esteem.

Children don’t always listen to what they are told, but will often copy their parents behavior to the letter. Setting a good example to your loved one when it comes to dealing cyber bullying is very important.

Bullies are generally after attention, feeding off of the physical reaction their words or actions invoke. Showing any reaction normally gives the bully even further incentive and retaliation would only make matters worse.

What are “bully-safe” habits?

Understand diversity of the global community

You have to recognize that others might be right. What may seem as rudeness at first might only be the expression of a different opinion.

Don’t take comments personally

If you find some comments that offend you, don’t reread any of it.

Healthy 30 second break

When you are about to post something online, take 30 seconds, step away from your computer/device, after which reread your post before posting.

Don’t retaliate.

Ultimately the less time we spend on social media the less the odds are of encountering a cyberbully.

To safeguard your family from this toxic part of our society starts with knowledge.

Knowledge as a parent of the key identifiers to know when your child is being victimized. The knowledge of how to deal with this type of behavior from a victim standpoint, and lastly the knowledge that you, as a parent, have the power to make informed decisions to implement measures to safeguard your loved ones.

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