5 Simple Ways You Can Protect Your Children From Cyberbullying

5 Simple Ways You Can Protect Your Children From Cyberbullying

“Sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words will never hurt me”. When it comes to cyberbullying, the old saying could not be further from the truth. In an age where everyone is accessible, no one is safe from online trolls and bullies. Furthermore, Research now shows that those who get bullied online were also victims of bullying offline. In an age where most things are done through digital devices, how can we best protect our children from cyber bullying? Here are 5 ways.

Change your passwords regularly

Not changing your passwords can leave you and your child vulnerable to hackers and bullies looking to wreak havoc on your account. It’s a simple safeguard measure to take and yet few take seriously. A recent study by Choosi and Coredata showed that only 22% of people surveyed always changed their passwords. If your child is online in public places i.e. school library, classroom, it’s important that he/she changes their passwords once every 90 days.

As suggested by Ruth Dearing from Peaceful Digital Parenting: “other simple measures you can use to protect passwords is to use different passwords for every site, and use long passwords with a mixture of capital and lower-case letters as well as random numbers and symbols where allowed”.

Setup Privacy Controls

Most parents share numerous photos of their children on social media without giving it a second thought, however: “it’s best to show your children respect by asking them if they’re happy for you to share their photos before posting them. After all, your children should have a say in creating their own digital footprint. This also gives you the opportunity to lead by example, as your children should be asking others for similar permission before sharing their images”, says Ruth.

A seemingly harmless photo of your child’s first day of school can give trolls and strangers personal information about your family they can later use. Before you hit ‘publish’, ensure your privacy settings are marked so only your friends and family can see it.

To set your privacy settings on Facebook:

  1. Click the top right of your Facebook page and select ‘Settings’
  2. In the left-hand column, click Timeline and Tagging
  3. Look for the setting ‘Who can see things on my Timeline” and edit

To set your privacy settings on Instagram:

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Click on the settings button in the top right corner
  3. Scroll to ‘private account’ and enable the function

To set your privacy settings on Snapchat:

  1. Go to your profile screen and tap the button in the top right corner
  2. Tap the setting button in the top right corner
  3. Scroll down to the ‘who can…’ section and adjust your preferences

Don’t just close the browser, log out

Having the auto-fill function of your personal details may be convenient but it also leaves you and your family open to strangers lurking around to gain access to your social media accounts (and even bank details). Always clear your browsing history and passwords.

Research shows that only 23% of people surveyed are diligent in deleting their browsing history. If you and your children are logged onto personal information, be sure to log out of all your accounts. Simply closing the browsing won’t block others from accessing your account.

To clear your browsing history and passwords, find the history tab in your browsing and select ‘clear browsing data’.

Be Cautious Of Messages From Strangers

It may be tempting to open a message when the subject line is: “have you seen this yet? You’re featured in this video!” but a headline like that is often a bait tactic to drive clicks to spammy sites or worse, a download of a virus. Educate your children about the danger of opening unsolicited messages, no matter how friendly they may seem.

Pause Before You Post

With so many social platforms available followed by many ways bullying can happen, the best thing you can do is use your own discretion. It may be fun to share moments on a family vacation with your network but in doing so you could be sharing information trolls and hackers could use to their advantage. Before you post that photo, consider the following things:

  1. Who will see this image? i.e. friends, family or general public
  2. Am I revealing private details about myself or my family?
  3. Will my post compromise my reputation?

“It’s also important to consider the practical applications of sharing details of your vacation publicly, as you’re effectively broadcasting that you’re not at home, making you an easy target for burglary. And while you may think it’s only your friends who will see you post, be aware that if you have befriended people online that you’re not actually good friends with, there’s nothing to stop them from sharing your post with their own ‘friends’ – who you may not know”, says Dearing.

A Snapchat or Instagram photo may only garner seconds of someone’s attention but they last a lifetime online. Think twice before you share your life moments with the world.

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