Cyber Bullying and the iGeneration

By Zunammie Keren

As a 21st century parent I am raising the next generation, my 3 boys are the iGeneration. So I look ahead comparing what is happening now in society while they are still very young and what is likely to happen in the future. Millennials today use technology for practically everything, they are always on the internet searching cyber space for various things.

Wherever you have people things happen, the good, the bad and the indifferent. In the cyber world bullying is a real issue and that causes me to wonder, if it’s such a huge issue now, what will happen when my little boys become little men, teenagers, young adults? There are ways we as parents can help alleviate the issue of cyber bullying and it all starts by being educated about it.

What is Cyber bullying?

To fight against something and to protect our children from something we need to know what it is and how to identify it. Cyber bullying is any kind of harassment that is actioned through the use of technology, whether it is by embarrassing someone or threatening them. This happens mainly among children and young adults. Adults are more involved in cyber- stalking or cyber- harassing.

Cyber bullying is often triggered by very simple misunderstandings among young persons and can just as easily go viral for all to see and hear about. There are cases where children have been expelled from school, got into physical altercations or even harmed themselves because of cyber bullying. What do we as parents do about it?

Kill It Before It Grows

Sometimes cyber- bullying may seem like a harmless one-line statement about someone’s outfit, or physical features, but as parents we can’t ignore these “one liners”. They grow and fester into bigger issues which can do serious harm to the self-esteem of our children. I think of my sons and hope that I am doing the best I can to teach them how to be kind to others, to respect themselves and to respect others so that they won’t be the aggressor.

We can’t always protect our children from being bullied but we can report the bully to cyber-crimes unit at the local law enforcement agency. We can also help our children be more secure and confident about themselves so that in the event they are victims of cyber bullying, their self-esteem will not suffer any serious damage.

Teach Cyber Etiquette

Have you ever thought about teaching your children how to use the internet? The do’s and don’ts? Do they know what sites are safe and which ones aren’t? Do they know how to interact with people? Unfortunately, sometimes our own children may be the cyber bully and we don’t even know it. It is our job as parents to tech our children what is acceptable online behaviour so that they don’t bully anyone – or let anyone bully them.

Many children are left to roam the Internet freely without any supervision or knowledge of technology etiquette. Educating our kids about proper cyber etiquette will allow them to indentify incidents of cyberbullying rather than fall as helpless victims. If they know what it is, they can do something about it.

As I look into the future I certainly do not wish to hear that any of my sons are involved in cyber bullying. That is why I monitor their use of the technology at home. I listen and watch how they interact with each other and correct where necessary. I believe this kind of home training and supervision will help me to raise children that will not bully others online or anywhere esle.

Taken from the September issue of Geek Parenting, out now!

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