Cyberbullying: How To Outsmart Our Kids When It Comes To Social Media

Chris Herting

The dog days of summer are nearing an end, and kids are about to head back to school. That might come as a relief for parents trying to keep them busy or out of trouble. For those parents, resurrecting your school routine can most certainly provide a breath of fresh air. 

On the flip side, the first day back can be riddled with anxiety for both parents AND children. Your child is one year older and he/she will undoubtedly experience new and different obstacles that come with age, freedom and increased responsibility. New classmates. New teachers. An added sense of peer pressure that complicates things. As our children age, there tends to be a  heightened desire to fit in with the “popular” crowd.   

It’s no secret that teen bullying is on the rise. Facebook “depression” is real, folks. Countless studies have shown that cyberbullying and “de-friending” on social platforms can lead to symptoms of depression. According to stopbullying.gov, a federally funded website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:

• Social media like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter,

• Text messages, or

• Instant message or email.

The digital world is constantly evolving with new social media platforms, apps, and devices. Consequently, our kids’ exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying and even sexting increases as additional social media platforms emerge. Cyberbullying is a real and omnipresent threat. Here are some quick tricks to outsmart your kids when it comes to social media:

1 Establish rules about appropriate digital behavior, content and apps. 

2. Get to know the technology and digital slang used by teens.

3. Put limits on your child’s online time.

4. Monitor your child’s posts, photos and browsing history. 

5. Get your child’s user names and passwords.

6. Friend your teen on social media sites or have another trusted adult do so.

7. Warn your children of the dangers of   geotagging that reveal his or her location. 

8. Educate your child about the importance of  their online reputation. Everything they do, post and say online will not simply disappear over time. 

Are you prepared? Complacency can be your own worst enemy.

Chris Herting is a digital and social media specialist at Gallinghouse Marketing + Creative. He has experience delivering innovative digital solutions for hundreds of brands, including the NFL’s Washington Redskins. Gallinghouse is located at 409 W. 21st Ave., Covington. For more information, call 985-893-7631 or visit gallinghouse.com.



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