I wanted to touch on this subject for parents because whether we realize it or not, cyber bullying is happening all around us. Research shows that many parents don’t even realize that their child is being bullied or is being a bully until it is too late.
I had a friend recently share with my about her daughter being cyber bullied for months and she had absolutely no clue about it. She found out because her daughter had left her phone in the car and her mom heard it continuously vibrating. She picked up her daughter’s phone only to see so many texts and Facebook notifications that were saying awful things about her daughter. Some of the Facebook messages were so harsh, that she felt that she needed to call in to work and go get her daughter immediately. After getting the other girl’s parents involved, to my friend’s surprise, they knew nothing about it either. One of the girl’s was even a teacher’s daughter and her mother taught at the high school and she still had no clue her daughter was being a bully right under her nose!
I think that bullying is awful. I was somewhat bullied in school and this was before social media and text messaging! In my post from yesterday, I talked apps that your child may have on their phone and some listed are used for cyber bullying as well.
So, how can parents know if their child is being cyber bullied or being a cyber bully? How can we ensure that our child will not be a bully?
Have a relationship with your child- So many parents these days have no clue what their children are doing because they are letting technology be the babysitter! You may say, “Well, my child doesn’t want to hang out with me!” Or, “I don’t have money to spend on my child to take them to do anything!” Find a way to gain a steady relationship with your children. Make time to have conversations with them DAILY. Know what is going on in their lives. As they get older, yes, they will go through phases, but be there for them!
Monitor your child’s technology devices- Some parents may not agree with this and think that that is “their private stuff.” Children do need privacy, I agree with that. That is why our bathroom and their bedroom’s have doors. When it comes to a world in the palm of their hands, then it becomes my business! I do check my children’s phones. I am not saying that I am a stalker and check it daily, but I do check it. As a matter of fact, I have settings on their phones to let me know what apps they are downloading from the app store. I don’t sit there and read their texts word for word, but I glance through it. Know what your child is doing on these technology devices!!
Have limits for your child- This goes back to letting your child’s babysitter be the technology devices and television. I am not saying all phones and televisions are bad, but they can be. If we just allow our children to come home, get on their phones or in the television and have very little or no communication with the rest of the family, then we are giving our children too much freedom! Set time limits for your children. Consider a “technology free” day and do something outside! I am not saying that you should take away the deviced, but have time limits. It’s not healthy allowing your children to stay on their phones and in the television 90% of the time they are home.
Talk to you children about bullying- It is always a good idea to teach your children young about bullying. I’d say when they start stealing all the toys and not sharing when they are 2 years old is a good time. But, really, it’s never too early to start teaching your children about being a bully. Let them know how it can really hurt someone. If you are talking to your teenager about bullying, let them know that sometimes people even commit suicide because they are bullied so much. We also encourage our children to stick up for those that are being bullied, and if they don’t feel like they can stick up for the child, then they need to tell someone. Encourage your child.
Teach your child to serve- I will be doing a blog post at a later date on teaching children how to serve and be there for others. It is good to teach your child to hold the door for someone with their hands full. It is good to teach your child to be polite and respect others around them. It is important to teach your child about other children with disabilities and how hard it is for them. Teach your child to be polite!
These are just some of the things that I suggest. If you see any changes in your child, investigate it and question them about it. They may or may not be being bullied. But that goes back to you having a good, steady relationship with your child. Don’t be scared to ask them questions. And don’t be scared to upset your child! You are the parent and the authority and they need to know what authority is for when we get to the real world!
Lord, we know it’s difficult being a parent, but it’s not impossible. Help us and show us how to be a better parents as we go! Help those that are being bullied. And whatever is being done behind our backs, may it be brought to light so that we may be aware of it. Help us to teach our children how to be kind, courteous children to others. Help us to teach them what it means to serve others.
Until next time…be encouraged!