Parenting in the age of social media

INTRODUCTION

Whether it’s one student shoving another in the hallway, or a group of kids teasing a perceived “outsider”, bullying is a common occurrence in schools. Bullying in was always apparent, no matter what form it took. But today’s young people have to deal with a form of bullying that isn’t so obvious to the naked eye. Cyberbullying is on the rise as a result of the increased time spent on digital devices. Cyberbullying is more likely to occur when children spend more time online because of the pandemic stay-at-home orders.

Social media is a common place for people to engage in cyberbullying. The messages on social media can be seen by a large number of people very quickly because they are public. The anonymity provided by social media sites also makes it easier for people to be mean or hurtful. According to Cyberbullying Research Center, more than three-quarters of teenagers who have been cyberbullied experienced it on social media. The most popular social media platforms for cyberbullying are Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

A 15-year-old Delhi kid was arrested on the 4th of May, 2020 for his suspected participation in an Instagram group dubbed “bois locker room,” which is believed to have been used for posting sexually explicit photographs and exchanging filthy comments. Another case of cyberbullying is that of an MBBS student who in November 2017 jumped to her death from the highest floor of her college building in Kerala. It was clear from a look at her Facebook page that she was upset by some hurtful remarks made by one of her classmates. The police believe that cyberbullying was a factor in her decision to commit suicide.

For years, cyberbullying existed before social media and it involved trolling on forums and even chat rooms, sharing inappropriate photos, and spreading rumors or just sharing secrets and rumors online. Cyberbullying is on the rise as more people, particularly the younger generations, connect via social media. Cyberbullying is a problem on social media sites, where teenagers can post pictures and communicate with each other.

ROLE OF PARENTS IN ENSURING THAT THEIR CHILDREN BEHAVE RESPONSIBLY ONLINE

More often than not, parents are the ones who give teens advice on how to conduct themselves in a manner that is both appropriate and safe online. Parents are also in charge of ensuring the safety of their children, both online and offline, and to do so, some measures must be put in place. Educating and monitoring their children’s online behavior are two equally important responsibilities for parents. Here are some suggestions for parents on how to encourage their children to behave well online:

social media parenting

1. Parental foresight: Parents should know about current technology. Parents must show an interest in their children’s online activities. Monitoring your child’s online activities can help to promote good behavior, but it can also alert you if your child is the victim of any harmful behavior.

2. Open and honest discussions: As parents, you can’t just take it for granted that your child is using technology responsibly. Instead, have open discussions and probe for information to make sure your child is acting responsibly and healthily online. Children’s online experiences, both positive and negative, should be encouraged by parents, who should keep a line of communication open with them about it.

3. Set a good precedent: The example you set for your children is important to them. When it comes to your online habits, what example are you setting for them to emulate? It’s important to set an example for your child by using technology in a responsible manner, which includes things like regularly updating your privacy settings, limiting screen time, only communicating with people you know in person, and having civil conversations.

4. Educate them on empathy: One of the best ways to encourage positive online behavior is to teach your children to have empathy for those around them. Encourage them to think before they post. Tell them to ask themselves, “Is what I’m posting helpful or harmful?” or something along those lines. “Am I endangering anyone by continuing to do this?” or “Will this cause someone to have a negative self-perception?”

5. Set rules and standards: To help children understand the expectations of their parents in terms of morals and safety, parents should set rules and standards for their children. Children’s Internet usage should be governed by clear guidelines that specify where, when, and what they can access.

6. Give freedom: In the end, you must allow your child the freedom and independence to make the right choices, even if you monitor their online behavior. Overstepping these boundaries and taking control of their lives will make it more difficult for them to open up to you. Demonstrate your confidence in them, and they’ll mature as you give them more freedom.

CONCLUSION

Cyberbullying is on the rise because teens spend more time online. The most popular social media platforms for cyberbullying are Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. More than three-quarters of teenagers who have been cyberbullied have done so on social media.

To keep your wards safe from cyberbullying, you can take steps like following age restrictions on social media, learning how privacy settings work, and keeping tabs on what games your child is playing. Setting and utilizing parental controls on broadband, mobile devices, and home entertainment systems can all help to keep younger children safe, but it’s also critical to communicate expectations and establish reasonable rules with them early and often.

Educating children about the dangers of sharing personal information and images without permission is essential. A child’s ability to develop online resilience requires that they understand the ins and outs of reviewing privacy settings, blocking unwanted contacts, and submitting reports. Leave your tablet and phone outside of the bedroom at night, or use Do Not Disturb settings to encourage your children to think about their limits when they use social media and the internet, and then get a good night’s sleep.

It is important to take drastic actions when your children are being bullied online. These actions include storing screenshots of any messages, emails, or posts the bully sent to them, putting a stop to any further contact with the bully on either social media sites or messaging apps, and seeking out professional counseling services and support groups for children who are already victims.

Author: Shirley