Prevention is the best way to end cyber-bullying.
Today’s teens not only have to worry about face-to-face bullying, they also have to fear cyber-bullying in the digital landscape.
The rapid spread of information via social media and texts makes cyber-bullying difficult to stop. The best way to slow it down is to take steps now to prevent it.
By helping teens learn what not to do and how to react, makes it easier to handle and prevent cyber-bullying. With half of teens saying they’ve been cyber-bullied and nearly 20% saying it happens regularly, prevention is key.
1. Don’t Respond
Start by teaching teens to avoid responding to any cyber-bullying. Whether it’s a text, comment or even an image they didn’t want shared, the less they respond, the less power bullies have. It’s a simple way for them to stand up for themselves. The problem with responding is it shows bullies they’re in control and sometimes it causes the one being bullied to sink to the bully’s level.
2. Let Someone Know
Teens are notorious for hiding things from authority figures. Cyber-bullying shouldn’t be one of those things. Tell teens to always let someone know what’s going on and to keep all the evidence in case proof’s needed later. Teens are more confident when they know they’re not alone. Creating a support system for the teen is crucial for keeping them strong against bullying.
3. Don’t Share Anything Too Personal
Many teens are bullied because they post something personal. It could be an embarrassing update or a private image meant only for one person. Tell teens that if it’s anything that could be used against them, don’t post or share it. Always keep private photos private. There’s never any reason to send someone explicit photos.
4. Think Before Posting Anything
Teens love to share every thought and moment in their lives. Recommend that they think twice before posting anything. Ask them to consider how their words might affect someone else. They might not even realize they’re bullying someone else. A good rule for them to remember is if it’s something personal from someone else, ask before sharing it. It’s a simple way to prevent cyber-bullying.
5. Keep Accounts Private
It’s more difficult for cyber-bullies to get information on other teens if they can’t access the accounts of others. Show teens how to lock down their online social circles. By setting stronger privacy controls, only their most trusted friends and family can view, comment and even share what’s posted.
If a teen doesn’t trust someone implicitly, they should only share very general posts and photos. Privacy controls allow teens to share some things with everyone and limit more personal posts to a select few. Extremely personal thoughts should still only be shared face-to-face.
6. Ignore Requests From Bullies Or Strangers
Tell teens to always ignore any friend or follower requests from strangers or any known bullies. They can prevent cyber-bullying by never letting those types of people into their digital lives. For anyone they do know that’s bullying them, they should immediately block them from viewing the teen’s social media accounts and sending texts. The bullies might still try for a while, but eventually, they’ll stop because they know they’re being ignored.
7. Let Bullying End With The Teen
Teach teens to let the bullying cycle end with them. If they receive a text, photo or see something on social media that makes fun of others, tell them not to share it. Instead, tell them to stand up for themselves and other teens by not participating. The more teens that refuse to pass on the bullying, the harder it becomes for cyber-bullies.
Even if a teen isn’t the target, ask them to take a moment to think about how they would feel if they were the teen being talked about. Recommend they tell everyone that it’s not funny. It’ll make the bullies think twice and show other teens they don’t have to give in to peer pressure.
Cyber-bullying isn’t something to be taken lightly. It greatly affects a teen’s self-esteem. It’s up to every teen, parent, teacher and other adult authority figures to take a stand against this epidemic. While no one can prevent cyber-bullying overnight, educating teens on prevention methods is a good start.
Find out how you can help teens dealing with cyber-bullying. Visit Safety Education Alliance for everything you need to start a conversation with teens today.
*image courtesy of One World Platform