Once upon a time we used to worry about children being bullied when they’re at school but these days bullies could be talking to your children in the safety of your own home.
Unfortunately 43% of children have been bullied online with girls being twice as likely to be victims. 81% of children think that online bullying is easier to get away with than bullying in person. 30,000 children stay at home every day due to the fear of being bullied and bullied victims are 7%-9% more likely to consider suicide.
These stats are very worrying. There’s something that we should do to try to stop this. It’s not going to be easy and this isn’t something that we can do overnight, but we have to work together as parents, guardians, teachers and carers of children to educate ourselves and our children so that they can be safe and still enjoy the positives of being online/on social media.
In this blog post I’ve covered three tips on how to understand social media and what you can do to protect your child.
Follow the rules and set privacy settings to the max!
Each social media platform has a set of terms and conditions that you have to signup to before setting up an account. Did you know that no one under the age of 13 years should be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Kik and Snapchat? So please do not put your child on the social channels before that age. When they are ready, create the accounts together and make sure you have all privacy settings set to the highest settings. Click here to find out more: https://www.facebook.com/policy.php
2. Stay educated
There’s always a new social media platform available and some are more appealing to different age groups. Here’s some of the most popular platforms that are available at the moment:
Snapchat: used to send instant pictures and videos which play for about 10 seconds and then deletes - unless the recipient takes a screenshot of the image. If this happens, the sender will receive an alert to let them know.
Twitter: users have 140 characters to send messages from their account to their followers or people using specific hashtags. Images, videos, gifs etc can be uploaded here also.
Instagram: allows users to take pictures and videos and add filters to then share with friends and anyone who is following them on the platform.
Kik: similar to WhatsApp. It allows users to send free instant messages. No phone numbers are used, only usernames.
You can also read blogs such as socialmediaexaminer.com, mashable.com and econsultancy.com/blog to name a few which will help you to stay ahead.
3. Talk about social media to your children
Teach your children about what’s acceptable and unacceptable on social media. As mentioned above, children are more likely to bully online as they feel like it’s easier to do so. We need to make sure children understand what impact an action online can have in real life. Explain scenarios and make it clear that it's not okay to say hurtful things just because they’re sitting behind a screen and everyone else is doing so.
There are many more areas to cover here, but this is somewhere to start. Please do leave comments below and let us know your thoughts. We are hoping to go into schools to run free workshops and offer parents advice to raise awareness about this, so please do let us know if you would like to get involved.