I recently watched a TV movie about cyberbullying and it opened my eyes to a lot of parental subjects that need to be discussed with my children when they become a bit older. As of this moment my children are not online via social media sites or other communities therefore cyberbullying does not come into play .. yet.
The movie I watched was about a girl who was being cyberbullied to the point where she felt she had nothing better to do than to attempt to commit suicide. The sad fact is, this happens all of the time. It’s somewhat easy for adults to tell our children that this is just mean kids, kids who have never been taught how to treat others nicely or we can reassure our children that what the bully is saying is not true. Honestly, words do hurt. The old saying “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” can be considered tossed out of the window for too many teens are being verbally abused and too many adults are simply making excuses for this bullying, citing verbal abuse isn’t as devastating as let’s say, physical abuse.
Words can be just as hurtful as physical abuse, and we need to be putting up parental monitoring units on our computers to ensure we are being proactive to cyberbullying with our teens. Maybe your teen is guilty of being a cyber bully, you never know unless you are heavily monitoring your teens online experience. I get that we want our children to learn they are trusted and that they have privacy but sometimes monitors are simply a way for us to continue to protect our children, let’s face it, our children are not adults until they are 18 years old and moved out on their own. It is a parents job to teach trust and privacy as well as protect and if that means putting up parental monitoring on your computer .. so be it!
One of the girls on the movie I watched stated “I don’t know why I did what I did, but it just didn’t seem real when I was typing things on the computer”, too many teens are not being shown that words online, things we put out there are not easily taken back and can spin through the world wide web faster than a rumor in a small town. Be proactive parents, be aware that words do hurt and establish a communication with your children at a young age so that they trust to confide in you about anything that happens in their lives; that is the best way to ensure your child does not fall victim to cyberbullying, or worse yet, become the bully themselves!