As you know, I’m a huge advocate for kids and teens creating their own income online through creating their own websites, etc.
There is one very real risk however to letting our kids get ‘online’ and that is that it is a very unsafe place for kids to be by themselves. That is why I also am a HUGE advocate of parents working together with their kids and teens so that they can protect them from the nasty people online who would try to take advantage of your precious child.
Today I have a very special guest post from my dear friend RJ Jaramillo, from SingleDad.com. RJ is passionate about empowering our kids with the skills to control and take charge of cyber bullying so your child won’t become another sad cyber statistic. This is a serious issue that we parents need to face today.
Enjoy RJ’s post, I know I found it very helpful.
Thanks RJ, you’re so awesome! ;o)
Cyber Bullying… by RJ Jaramillo, owner of SingleDad.com
Today’s technology demands better Parenting skills. Learn 3 key steps every parent should know about keeping our children safe from Cyber Bullying.
In the days before the internet, most disagreements began and ended in the playground. Even at the teenager level, I can remember that the best defense from a “false rumor” was to just walk away and give it no attention at all… Most of the time it worked, and it never remained in anybody’s memory for more than a couple days.
The problem with today is that the internet never sleeps; and those vicious and harmful rumors take a new life into emails, facebook, twitter and every smart phone in a matter of seconds. If your child is the subject to one of these attacks, SingleDad is going to share 3 steps on helping you keep your child safe from this growing problem in our children’s environment.
Step 1 – Know the Signs of Trouble
I don’t believe that our children are perfect at hiding their emotions. What I do believe is that we have to be better parents on reading and understanding the signs that our children are showing us. I can see and feel when my kids are not getting enough sleep. I know when they are happy, sad and even a little moody. All four of us sit down together for dinner at my house and I have the opportunity to talk, watch, and listen to how their day went at school. There is no TV on, no cell phones allowed at the table; just family interaction and conversations to share. This step is key for me because I make sure I have all three of my children talk about their day. I do not sellout to “I don’t want to talk about it … “ or “Nothing happened today…” I stay present and I probe for more information.
I may sound like a dork with my persistence, but I know that I am doing my job by staying in the conversation and being a good parent. Watch for signs where the emotions in the conversation run high. Sometimes a quick, negative reply is just an unruly kid. Loss of appetite or easily agitated in a harmless conversation can be signs of trouble elsewhere. If this behavior continues, take the time to meet with them one on one and move on to Step 2.
Step 2 – Have the Talk
Make it about you. That’s right, if there is trouble at school and your child is involved; the best way to get your child to talk to you about it is to somehow relate a story from your past experiences when you were their age. Building a level of trust is important and opening up with your own humility is a great way to establish a dialog. Talk about your own awkward experiences. As a teen, nobody escaped a little humiliation in school and now is the time to bring up a past story in front of your child to make them see you not only as their parent; but someone like them in trouble. Sharing your story of challenge and the solution gives your child hope and the ability to open up with their problem. Get the talk going and identify all the parties involved in the bullying. Explain to your child that you want to know who all the characters that are involved in the Cyber bullying to assess the scope and size of the problem. Guarding or protecting certain parties is never a good idea, because it typically doesn’t stop the attacks if you leave out a few of the instigators. Explain to your child that this is not a game, nor should it be taken lightly. Gathering as much information on whom everybody is in the bullying process will make you better prepared for the next step.
Step 3– Gain Access
Most parents don’t bother to ask, but in my household I insist on having access to both of my teenager’s Facebook accounts. This isn’t an option; this is a requirement as a parent to keep up with modern day parenting. I am posted as their friend and I check on their weekly posts and their home page. Their mother has their passwords and they know that we have access at all times. Just the knowing helps everyone out in our co-parenting family.
Having the Facebook access helps you understand the overall scope of the bullying. You are now able to gather the names and associate faces to your child’s bullying story. Never do this alone or think you can solve this Cyber Bullying with a talk or meeting with other kid’s parents. The next step is to get the proper authorities involved and cooperate with the schools and local law enforcement. Cyber Bullying is a hate crime and our children need to see this type of activity as illegal and punishable by law.
Make sure you leave us your own stories and suggestions about cyber bullying. We really appreciate your feedback. And if you have any topic you would like to share with our readers then simply send an email to amanda (at) teachingchildrenaboutmoney (dot) com
Here’s to raising empowered kids and teens and ensuring their safe and prosperous future! ;o)
Cheers…Amanda van der Gulik…Excited Life Enthusiast! ;o)
P.S. Pay it forward, share this post with the people you love. Let RJ’s message help them too.