The internet allows kids to learn, play, and even make new friends from all around the globe. With all these awesome perks, sometimes it’s easy to lose touch with internet safety. However, parents should keep cyberbullying at the forefront of their minds as kids head back to school this fall.
StopBullying.gov defines cyberbullying as “bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets.” Cyberbullies aim to humiliate their victims by sharing nasty—often false—information online. Rumors, embarrassing photos, and private information are often their weapons of choice.
Cyberbullying can occur over many different digital platforms, including:
- Text messages.
- Social media.
- Online forums.
- Video games.
- Group chats.
According to a study by the Cyberbullying Research Center, 23.2% of children surveyed in one month were cyberbullied in 2021. Certain groups were far more likely than others to fall victim to cyberbullying, with LGBTQ youth reporting harassment twice as much as their straight peers. To make matters worse, this past spring 81% of cyberbullying monitoring organizations reported an increase in harassment over a 6 month period. So in 2022, it’s more important than ever for families to stay cyber safe.
Why is cyber safety so important?
Cyberbullying should always be taken seriously, as it takes a very negative toll on the victim’s health. Children targeted by cyberbullying have reported many physical and mental disturbances such as:
- High stress levels.
- Anxiety disorders.
- Sleep Issues.
- Trouble with schoolwork.
- Stomach pain.
- Digestive upset.
If that’s not enough to convince you, remember that in some cases, cyberbullying can even turn tragic and have devastating outcomes that impact family members and entire communities for years.
Because most high-profile cyberbullying cases have involved students who attend in-person classes, you may think your child is safe if they’re learning from home instead. However, as online classes become more common, cyberbullying is unfortunately creeping into the online learning sphere as well. Internet safety is just as important for home-schoolers as it is for public school students.
How can I keep my kids cyber safe?
Now that you know some of the many consequences of cyberbullying, don’t panic. Instead, focus on upping your family’s internet safety and investing in some cutting-edge technology that will stop cyberbullying in your household for good!
Here are some of the top ways you can prevent cyberbullying and boost your family’s internet safety.
1. Give your kids the freedom to roam safely with GPS tracking tech
To some parents, tracking your kids through GPS services may seem dystopian. But in today’s world, it’s a great alternative to constant supervision that allows your child to grow and explore—safely, of course.
GPS trackers for kids usually come in the form of watches, phone apps, or independent devices your child can carry in their pocket or clip to their belt. Regardless of what tracking device you choose, most come with an app you can install on your phone to view your child’s location in real time. This allows you to safely monitor their activity whether you’re at work, on the go, or relaxing in the comfort of your own home. And if you’re home, you can zoom in on their location extra-quickly at our speeds of up to 940 Mbps*!
Some GPS tracking devices even let you set a perimeter for your child to roam freely using geofencing technology. This way, you’ll immediately receive a notification if they leave the “safe zone” you define. If they step past the boundary, you’ll know exactly where they are, so you can safely call them back. Or, if the need arises, go and find them!
2. Stay cyber safe with parental controls
Parental controls are a great way to monitor your child’s online activity without getting too invasive. With minimal tech knowledge, you can set them up to be as permissive (or as cautious) as you want them to be.
Among many other things, parental controls allow you to:
- Make sure your kids don’t stumble across anything unsavory on search engines.
- Monitor social media to make sure your kids aren’t posting anything that could come back to haunt them later.
- Block inappropriate websites.
- Keep tabs on who your kids are talking to and protect them from predators.
Depending on how far you want to go, you can even set up parental controls on your entire network. This allows you to turn your WiFi off manually or on a nightly timer if you want to keep your kids on a strict schedule and make sure they aren’t sneaking online after bedtime. By going this route, you can even block certain websites on your entire network so your kids can’t sneak around on their friends’ devices, either.
3. Practice safe screen time with digital mindfulness
From online classes to late-night gaming sessions, you and all your family members are probably staring at screens far longer than you should be. But did you know too much screentime can lead to headaches, anxiety, muscle pain, and more? This can be a real pain if your child is required to use the internet frequently for schoolwork. The best way to combat this is by limiting screen time after class.
If your kids are old enough to get the gist of digital mindfulness, talk to them about how too much screentime (especially on social media) could be dragging them down. If they’re too young—or stubborn—to get the drift without help, you may want to consider investing in some of the parental control options we discussed earlier!
Cyberbullying prevention is in your hands!
Now that you know about all the awesome options like wearable tech or geofencing safe zones, it’s easier than ever to protect your kids from cyberbullying and practice good internet safety. Cyberbullying is a very real threat that must be taken seriously. But now you have all the tools you need to defend your kids and stay cyber safe!
And if you choose to set up parental controls over your entire network, be sure to make the switch to Quantum Fiber. After all, you wouldn’t want to be caught with anything less than 99.9% reliability* while your kids are out there exploring the world!
*Based on network uptime or availability. Speeds may not be available in your area.