Cyber bullying has escalated and it’s more important than ever to educate our teens on safe online behaviour. Below are some tips to stay safe online …
Manage your time online. Set time limits.
Balance your online life with real life. Use it to enhance your life. Don’t let it become your life.
Get involved in offline activities, hobbies, friends, family occasions.
Create a strong password and keep it to yourself.
Learn about and use the privacy and security settings on social networks. They are there to help you control who sees what you post and manage your online experience in a positive way.
Once posted, always posted: Protect your reputation on social networks. What you post online stays online. Think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your parents or future employers to see.
Pick your social media friends carefully.
Think about what you’re saying and whether it might be hurtful or embarrass them in public, even if it’s funny.
Don’t send a message when you are angry or upset. Wait until you have calmed down and had time to think.
Go offline sometimes.
If you feel like you are being bullied online talk to someone. Don’t keep it to yourself. Don’t reply. Even though you might really want to, don’t rise to the bait and reply to messages from someone who’s bullying you.
Mute, block, report anyone who is sending you unwelcome messages. And most importantly keep a record, such as a screenshot. This can act as evidence if you ever need it. It can also help the Gardaí or your ISP find out where the messages are coming from.
Advice for parents
Familiarise yourself with the latest technology and the various social media platforms. Knowledge is power.
Set limits. Your teen will not be happy about this but might thank you in the long run.
Set a good example. Put your phone away and interact with your children.
Encourage engagement in hobbies, pastimes, other activities.
Listen. Watch. Intervene. They still need you, even if it doesn’t seem that way.