Most parents don’t know how to tackle cyber bullying

54 percent of UK parents would have no idea if their child was being cyber bullied, highlighting that most parents are completely ill-equipped and under-educated in knowing how to recognize and deal with this growing threat to children.

Cyber bullying is rife on the internet and it involves using mobile phones or computers to intimidate, threaten or upset someone. Almost 45,000 children talked to ChildLine about bullying last year and most experts believe that the majority of young people will experience it at some point. However, despite cyber bullying being on the rise, ESET’s survey also revealed that 52 percent of parents would have absolutely have no idea what to do if their child was being cyber bullied.

In response to the findings of a new study, Mark James, security specialist at ESET, said: “Cyber bullying is an increasing threat to children however it is relatively unknown territory for the majority of parents as many have no previous experience in dealing with the issue before. One of the most significant differences between cyber bullying and more traditional forms of bullying is that your child’s bully can follow them into their room. This ultimately can make cyber bullying even more daunting for a child as there is often no escape.”

Other findings from the study revealed that when parents were asked who they would target if their child was being cyber bullied responses were as follows:

  • 45 percent said their child’s school
  • 70 percent said they would contact the website involved
  • 38 percent said they would contact the cyber bully themselves.

“The best way to deal with cyber bullying is to talk to your child and try to understand more about the situation. Parents should also advise their child not to respond to threats, however do not delete the messages as you will need these to verify that the cyber bullying is happening. There are a number of different ways to tackle cyber bullying, but they are all dependent on who is carrying out the bullying. If the cyber bullying is being carried out by another child at school, the parent should contact their teacher. If the bullying is being carried out by a stranger then contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) as they can then block the person from contacting your child further. Only in rare cases it is recommended that the parent actually approach the cyber bully themselves as this could ultimately cause further trouble,” continued James.

ESET’s seven golden rules for parents and children for online security:

  • Updated Antivirus and Security software is a necessity.
  • Updated OS as well as up to date installed applications is a necessity.
  • Be vigilant and monitor your child’s internet connection: set a password and allow children to surf the web only during the times when you can periodically check on their online activities. Set clear rules about the use of computers.
  • Instruct kids on internet privacy: they should never supply personal data and details to strangers on the web and social networks.
  • Control the web camera as it can be easily misused by criminals and strangers. Unplug or cover your webcam when you don’t use it. There is malware that can access your webcam without you knowing about it or, if your machine is compromised, it could be turned back on remotely. Have children use camera only for approved communication: with known friends and family.
  • On social media, if you or your child shares the wall with “Everyone” or “Friends of friends” then you have lost control of who has access to all date
  • The information posted on the internet does not go away. Do not assume that when you delete a photo or even the whole social network account that you have automatically deleted all the data forever. Pictures and information might be already saved on someone else’s computer. Children and parents should think twice about which pictures and details to put on the Internet.
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