Cyberbullying in 2023

Cyberbullying in 2023: How to Keep Your Children Safe

The internet can be a wonderful place to gain new knowledge and explore the confines of your curiosity.

But it also represents a digital Pandora’s Box that can damage young children’s mental health.

In this context, cyberbullying is one of the biggest threats that youngsters face online.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to provide guidance and ensure that online content doesn’t harm our little ones. According to recent statistics, only 11% of kids talk to their parents when they get bullied.

So, it’s time to take the matter into our own hands.

If your child is using one of the platforms listed below, unfortunately, they can be harassed online as you read this article:

  • TikTok;
  • Omegle;
  • Tellonym;
  • YakYak;
  • Chatroulette;
  • 4Chan;

In this article, we share five tips for concerned parents to help keep their children safe from online bullies.

1. Discuss the Importance of Having a Private Social Account

Unfortunately, the internet is littered with examples of the negative impact that cyberbullying can have.

Some of the worst cases are when children aren’t able to cope with bullying, and they retreat to taking their own lives. One of the most heartbreaking examples is a Chicago 10th grader that was driven to suicide due to school cyberbullies.

The first thing you should do as a parent is explain to your child the importance of having a private social media account.

Tell them that things get a bit sketchy when everyone has public access to their profile, as bullies can use this information in their attacks.

Make sure to speak to your child about having a private account that can only be seen by friends and family.

2. Explain Password Safety

Imagine your child shares their password with a friend. But, for some reason, the password falls into the wrong hands, resulting in the wrong person gaining access to the account.

This happens regularly and can put an immense amount of pressure on your child. To avoid this, it’s essential to explain to your kid why password safety is important and how to keep it secure.

Show them examples of strong and weak passwords and how to create a good one.

3. Eliminate Identifiable Information from Their Accounts

While your child may not be identifiable through their name, you should make sure that your kid isn’t sharing your home address, phone number, and email address.

This may give bullies the information they need to masquerade as your child and share negative or inaccurate information.

Some cyberattacks are hybrid in format, so they take place both physically and in the digital realm. For instance, a 14-year-old from New Jersey experienced bullying at school and took her life after the video was shared through social networks.

So, it’s important for you as a parent to eliminate your kids’ private information online.

4. Report Bullies and Avoid Engaging With Them

If you catch wind that a bully is targeting your child, it’s important to report this incident to whatever platform it’s taking place on.

Not only this, but you should teach your child to avoid engaging with bullies. Cyberbullies want to rattle and upset their targets, and this is only possible if the victim pays attention and engages in the conversation.

Even successful professionals recall the impact that bullying has on them for long periods.

One example of this is a now-professional psychologist that managed to overcome the impact of cyberbullies but vividly remembers the name-calling and ensuing loss of self-esteem during her teen years.

She explains that half of all children today get bullied online without parents ever realizing it.

5. Introduce Online Safety Tools

Your kids should be aware of the online safety tools that help to mask their real location and prevent someone from getting easy access to their account.

For instance, tools like virtual private networks (VPNs) can help your children access the internet with an encrypted connection that can’t be intercepted.

There are dozens of providers to choose from, so compare your top VPN picks until you find the best fit. Make sure to compare quality VPNs, like PIA vs Surfshark.

On the other hand, 2FA (two-factor-identification) should be enabled on all their devices and as many apps as possible.

Types of Cyberbullying to Know About

Cyberbullying can take many shapes and forms. It’s also important to note that cyberbullying can evolve into more serious offenses like fraud, phishing, and extortion.

These, in turn, can have destructive effects on your children and cause an insurmountable amount of pain.

Here are some examples of cyberbullying you should try to stop at all costs.

  • Exclusion and discrimination–when a kid is excluded from an online group and publicly abused based on hostility towards certain groups;
  • Harassment–when a child repeatedly gets harassed, threatened, or humiliated online;
  • Stalking–when a bully stalks their victim and bombards them with inappropriate or hurtful messages;
  • Outing–when a bully shares their victim’s secrets online;
  • And trolling–when a kid gets upsetting messages or comments, among many other offenses.

To Wrap Up

Cyberbullying is one of the worst byproducts of the internet. This is no different from real-life situations where children may be exposed to destructive comments or other forms of mental abuse.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to protect our children and make sure that they have the knowledge, resources, and tools to learn how to deal with bullies online.

We hope that the tips, types of bullying, and examples we listed above help you create a safe ecosystem that allows your kids to enjoy the good side of the internet and will give you peace of mind as a parent.