The cyberbullying, namely digital intimidation, is now a serious issue. One in four children aged 12 to 17 years has experienced cyberbullying in one way or another *. The effects can be serious.
Children lock themselves up and become secret, their school performance falls and can be aggressive, depressed, or even prone to self-harm.
If children are already experiencing such a situation, there is much that parents can do to offer their support at the right time and to start a discussion about the problem. More and more parents need to be aware of what cyberbullying is, how to recognize its first signs and how it is treated.
Although the Internet is a virtual network, it is impossible to deal with all its threats using computer technology alone. Some things just can't be prevented or prevented - and cyberbullying is one of them. However, the fact that we can not always protect children from this threat does not mean that we can not help them. Kaspersky Lab works with child psychologists around the world to gather advice on how to provide support to a child who has been bullied online.
Lisa Wright, co-founder Webiket.com, an educational initiative against cyberbullying, comments on how to deal with it"Keep in mind that securing trust and engaging early in an open debate is the first step in tackling internet scaring. It should follow an on-going approach, assessing the situation and designing the strategies to address the problem of cyberbullying but also your child's emotional state. "
For these cases, parents can follow the following tips:
- Be on the side of the children, without prejudice and without criticism, except with love and acceptance. At this stage, children need to hear that whatever happens or they have done, you will be there to support them.
- Do not downgrade the incident. At the moment, this is the most important thing in your child's life. In their emotionally vulnerable situation, they will not be able to think reasonably. So you have to make it clear that you have understood the seriousness of the situation and that their pain is justified.
- It is not yet time for a rational debate. Do not imply that your child may have caused this condition, even if that is true. This can create obstacles and lead your child to believe you do not understand.
- Substantial empathy is essential. It is important that your child understands how you feel. Explain to him that you have faced similar challenges - perhaps not on the Internet, but face to face - and that was difficult. Do not assume that you suffered more or that you found the strength to deal with it on your own. Tell him that what you really wanted at that moment was to have someone to listen to you, to understand you, to be with you.
- Only when you have gained your child's trust - and this can take time and should not be rushed - can you start talking about the incident. Do not anticipate what your child is going to say. Let the children come forward and tell you about the incident in their own words. It is important to get rid of this burden yourself.
Summing up the advice, Caron Mullen, MSc, Cyber Psychologist, said: "The cyberbullying is a complex issue requiring a multifaceted approach. A strategy to support the emotional state of the child is very important. In the short term, there are practical tips to help a child even at the worst moments, in a positive way, without resorting to actions that can aggravate the problem. The long-term goal is to "build strength" for the child to be able to cope with problematic social experiences without psychological harm. But the first and most important step for the parent is to gain the confidence of the child so that the weight can be shared and together they can take action to cope with a situation. "
In relation to the above, Alexander Erofeev, Chief Marketing Officer of Kaspersky Lab, commented: "The words, the sincere words of love and sympathy, can help. This is the key point we want to emphasize in our fight against online intimidation. And that's not just our opinion. It is something that many psychologists share in the world, who are participating in our campaign. The cyberbullying there is access to the Internet, that is to say the whole planet. So, we want parents all over the world to know how to handle this problem properly. "
As part of the campaign against cyberbullying, Kaspersky Lab has created a new interactive portal called Words Can Save, which contains information on the subject and helps parents to indirectly identify signs of intimidation for their children. The site wordscansave.me helps parents understand the importance of being close to the children and supporting them with the right words.
* Source: Statistics from NetChildrenGoMobile