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Cyberbullying: is your home as safe as you think?

Even though colder months keep kids indoors more frequently, it’s still important to wonder where they are. Even though kids are home, most homes have access to the Internet, increasing the threat of online risks such as cyberbullying. Even inside a home, a youth can feel harassed, threatened and bullied as cyberbullying can be done anonymously and done across all social media and other online platforms.

Cyberbullying is devastating experience, but there are ways to address it and help youth know what to do should it be experienced.

There are ways to address cyberbullying so youth can have happier, safer online digital experiencesJust like we were taught to think before we speak, cyberbullying.ca says it’s important to THINK before we type:

T = is it True?
H = is it Helpful?
I = is it Inspiring?
N = is it Nice?
K = is it Kind?

Keep these things in mind when communicating online for a safer, happier digital experience for everyone. When it comes to cyberbullying, follow these tips.
 

Cyberbullying tips

  • Protect your personal information online—never give out your passwords, even to your closest friends.
  • Before you send a text, ask yourself if you are ok if the whole world sees it - because private messages and photos can go public.
  • Remind yourself that you do not deserve to be bullied or harassed.
  • If someone is cyberbullying you, ask for help, find tips to help protect yourself at www.cybertip.ca and www.cyberbullying.ca and always save any messages you receive as evidence.
  • Be kind online. Do not post or pass on anything negative about another person. Stop and think:
    • How would you feel if someone did this to you?
    • What would an adult whose opinions you respect, such as a coach or grandparent, think of your actions?
    • How would you feel if your actions were reported on the front page of a newspaper?
    • Would you say this to the person’s face?
    • In a month or a year or a decade, will you be happy you posted something unkind?
    • Laws and penalties against cyberbullying are getting tougher all the time.
  • Once you post it, it’s out there for all to see—you can apologize, but you can’t take it back.
  • Refuse to forward hurtful emails, text messages or embarrassing photos to friends—by refusing to pass it on, you become part of the solution.
  • Block people who spread rumours online.
  • Avoid websites that feature negative information about other students.
If it’s happening to you or someone you know, get help for cyberbullying now 
 

How parents can help stop cyberbullying

Follow these tips to help keep your kids safe from cyberbullying:
  • Familiarize yourself with online activities. Learn about the websites, blogs, chat rooms and cyber lingo that your children are using.
  • Keep the computer in a common area so you can monitor activities.
  • Keep open communication lines with your children so they feel comfortable talking to you about cyberbullying experiences. Let them know that you are there to support them.
  • Recognize that online communication is a very important social aspect in your child’s life. Do not automatically remove their online privileges if you find out about a cyberbullying experience.
  • Talk to your children about what is acceptable behaviour online and offline. 
  • Report any online harassment, physical threats and bullying to your local police or your Internet Service Provider.
  • Report any harassment, physical threats and bullying that occurs over your child’s cell phone to your phone service provider. You may have to change the phone number if the problem does not stop.
 
Get your child’s teacher involved when it comes to cyberbullying; find out more information on cyber bullying for educators.
 
Learn more with Red Cross Respect Education courses.
 

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