Children and teens are spending an alarming amount of time online, and with life coming to a slow down in so many parts of the world again, the possibility of putting a plausible pause on this time does not look possible. Also, children are cooped up in their homes, having less to almost none physical outlet to channelize their energies and frustration. They are bored, disengaged and confused because of the huge changes that the Covid brought into out lives. These are just some of the factors why we see a huge increase in cyber bullying.
Apart from online classrooms, a hotbed for cyberbullying, where kids are spending endless hours, is online gaming. While most of the time the attacks manifest in the form of insults, ridiculing of gaming skills or more generally profanities being hurled at the players involved, it is by far not the only type of bullying that could be experienced in online battle arenas.
As a parent or a guardian, the onus is now on us to help curb this issue.
Some starter points that can really help are
—> Stay attuned to your child’s behaviour at home. Most often, it is a good indicator of how they conduct themselves online, school or otherwise.
—> Fostering an open minded, forbearing attitude in children at home encourages them
to treat their classmates without a prejudice. Teach them to be inclusive and tolerant of diﬀerent perspectives and views.
—> Children who are respected at home do not seek for attention outside and reflect more compassion.Model patience and respect towards your child’s opinions at home so they can carry that forward to their classroom.
—> The ability to control their emotions plays a huge role in how they interact with the outside world. Self help tools like meditation, journaling and exercising go a long way in helping them stay centered when things are not in their control. Empower them these self help tools so they can align themselves in and outside the classroom.
—> Children who are assertive and the ones who can articulate their feelings better tend to be the ones performing better at school as well as socially. Encourage them to voice their opinions and stand up for themselves whenever they deem necessary.
—> Spend time and meaningful conversations with your children. Encourage healthy discussions about their feelings and emotions on the daily. This will keep you in the know of their mental state AND will give them a place to vent. Nurture your child’s self- esteem and encourage them to report bullying to you, teachers, coaches or school administrators.
—> Children understand better when they are communicated with clearly, about expectations and rules. Set guidelines and rules for screen time and online etiquettes.
—> Boredom is one of the reasons why children choose to spend unconstructive time online. Urge them to connect with friends and family instead. That way they are fostering connections as well.
—> Parents are increasingly becoming busier. It is easy to loose sight of what is important when you are consumed with work priorities. Take time to keep a check your child’s online activity as frequently as possible.
—> Teach your children strategies to deal with uncomfortable situations with classmates and others.
Schools authorities and teachers are constantly making an eﬀort to make this online time for our children as safe as possible, but not much can be controlled what they do post school hours.
Let’s empower our children with tools and blueprints for a surer, safer and constructive experience online.
Founder, Good Earth Citizen