Parents must stop cyberbullying at the source

February 25, 2014

Reach out to kids to get them to stop cyberbullying.

Many of today’s young adults have access to the Internet, which opens them up to all sorts of interactions with others. Through Facebook teens can talk in real time with their friends, Twitter is another way to have online conversations and even email accounts have a chat function. This creates several opportunities for young adults to fall victim to cyberbullying, and a new study released today by Cox Communications and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children revealed many adolescents are keeping quiet about it. In fact, 31 percent of teens have been bullied online, while only 41 percent of these young adults have told their parents, teachers or other authority figures about their experiences.

Get teens to open up about cyberbullying
When teens internalize their issues, it can often make things worse. This is why parents have to take an active role in ensuring their kids are using the Internet in a responsible way – more specifically, if they are getting picked on by their peers. The research revealed that in the last decade, parents have gotten much better about conversing with their children about online safety. Eighty-four percent of parents who responded to the study said they talk to their kids about the right way to use the Web, which is a stark increase from the one-quarter who did so back in 2005.

“The most helpful way to address online safety and bullying is through open communication with children about these issues,” said John Ryan, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “That’s why we were encouraged that more parents are having these conversations. By keeping an open dialogue, parents can increase the likelihood that their children will come to them when something makes them uncomfortable online.”

Discourage kids from being cyberbulllies
​As kids grow into young adults, there are many instances when their behavior simply can’t be explained. But there are other times when patterns develop and, and parents have to recognize this. An article for Stop Cyberbullying stated that many instances of cyberbullying are caused by feelings of anger, revenge or frustration. Parents who can get their children to channel their energy into other outlets may be able to deter them from being mean to others on the Internet.

One activity that parents may want to look into is martial arts. By taking Karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Tae Kwon Do class, teens can cut down on the nearly six hours per day that they are spending on the Internet. Instead, they are learning martial arts techniques that not only teach them self-defense methods, but also enables them to focus their mind, take part in physical exercise and understand how to respect others. Martial arts instructors have no tolerance for any bullies in their classes, and any children who are picking on others will quickly learn that is not acceptable. In many instances, teens can take the lessons they acquire in Karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and and Tae Kwon Do classes and apply them in life.