In our last blog, we defined cyber bulling and the signs that accompany children who experience online bullying. In this blog we provide tips on how parents and schools can protect their children while online.
How Can Parents Help?
If you notice a sudden change in your child’s behaviour after Internet interacting, engage them by going onto their social media pages. If they try to hide their profiles and or other content form you, then befriend some of their friends and or your child on these social media platforms. Talk to them about any bullying experiences you may have had in your childhood and how you dealt with it. Here are more ways to help:
How Can Schools Help? :
- In case the school offers access to the Internet, the school has to ensure that it monitors and protects children’s online activity and ensure that any form of harm or exploitation are not tolerated and dealt with immediately.
- The school can install appropriate filters and monitoring systems, to prevent children from accessing inappropriate or abusive content while at school.
- The school should provide a platform to discuss and report risks encountered on the Internet and inform the learners and teachers on support structures such as Lifeline/Child Line and Social Workers, who are trained to assist children who have fallen victim/s to online perpetrators.
Other measures parents can enforce to protect their children while online include:
- Blocking the bully.
Most devices have settings that allow you to electronically block emails, IMs, or texts from specific people.
- Limit access to technology.
Keep the computer in a public place in the house
(no laptops in children’s bedrooms, for example) and put limits on the use of cellphones and games. Most websites and smartphones include parental control options that give parents access to their children’s messages and online life.
- Know your child’s online world.
Ask to “friend” or “follow” your child on social media sites, but do not abuse the privilege by commenting or posting anything on your child’s profile.
- Check your child’s posts and the sites he/she visits, and be aware of how they spend their time online.
- Talk to them about the importance of privacy and why it is a bad idea to share personal information online, even with friends.
- Write cellphone and social media contracts that you are willing to enforce with your child.
- Continually empower yourself with knowledge that will help you protect your child online.
- Encourage your child to create a strong password and never to share it with anyone.
- Encourage your child to never post their physical/home address.
- Encourage your child to never post their whereabouts when they are out of the house
Read the link below to find out more on cyber bulling and how to deal with yourchild if he or she is the bully.
If you, as a child experience online cyberbullying, speak to your parents and or a trusted adult immediately. Call the toll-free 116 Child Helpline to talk to a counsellor, who can also provide further support by transferring the case to another professional. The counsellors are trained on child online protection and can provide specific psychological support.
For more information on child online protection, click on the UNICEF link page for Namibian child online protection resources.
REMEMBER, you have a right to access the internet, but under the supervision of a parent and/or guardian. You have a responsibility to treat others with respect online.
For more information on Child Online Protection, visit our website www.cran.na
Watch the media for more information about CRAN’s #OWNit! Campaign and share your experiences with child online protection on facebook.com/CRANamibia.
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