Many young people say that they wouldn’t report cyber bullying because most adults don’t know that they have a cyber life – and if they report, then the technology will be taken away from them.
They are also likely to take the position that their online activities are their business. But parents have a moral, as well as a legal, responsibility to ensure that their children engage in safe and responsible behaviour – including online behaviour.
So what can parents do?
- Get involved and be aware
- Learn everything you can about information and communication technologies and how your child is using them. Talk to them about the places they go online and the activities that they are involved in.
- Encourage your child to come to you if anybody says or does something that makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. Stay calm and keep the lines of communication and trust open. If you “freak out” they won’t turn to you for help when they need it.
- Take action if your daughter or son is being bullied online
- Watch out for signs that your child is being bullied online – a reluctance to use the computer or go to school may be an indication.
- If the bullying is coming from a student at the same school, meet with school officials and ask for help in resolving the situation.
- Report any incident of online harassment and physical threats to your local police and your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
- If your child is bullied through a mobile phone, report the problem to your phone service provider. If it’s a persistent problem you can change the phone number.
- Encourage your child to develop their own moral code so they will choose to behave ethically with the technologies
- Talk to them about responsible use. Teach them to never post or say anything that they wouldn’t want the whole world – including you – to see or read.
- Work with them to create a contract or agreement with clear rules about ethical behaviour.
For more information…
ACMA: Cybersmart website
A user friendly site for children, young people, schools and parents to find out how to be cyber smart and safe.
Click: A Technology Guide for Parents
This NSW Government Information Communications Technology (ICT) Guide for parents has been developed to help parents protect their children at home or when they are out with friends. It provides comprehensive information including cyber bullying and will be regularly updated with new developments in the ICT industry and in our schools.
Cyber bullying, e-crime and the protection of children
A pamphlet for parents and caregivers that includes advice about what to do if your child is feeling unsafe following online or mobile phone communications, or exposure to offensive internet sites. From SA’s Department of Education and Children’s Services.
Cybersmart Guide for Parents
Interactive information about cyberbullying and unwanted contact, protecting personal information, sexting and e-security.