Back-to-School Safety: Part One

Summer is beginning to wind down and the new school year is approaching. While many families are already shopping for supplies and organizing fall schedules, not everyone takes the time to think about a safety refresher for back-to-school. That’s where we come in!

The first topic of our Back-to-School Safety Series is important, and one parents didn’t have to deal with when they were young. Cyberbullying.

Read some tips on how to recognize and prevent cyberbullying from The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), a partner organization of the Beau Biden Foundation. NetSmartz is NCMEC’s educational program that aims to teach children, parents, guardians, and educators ways to keep kids safe online.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is using technology and the internet to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. Cyberbullying can take many forms. It can involve leaving cruel or intimidating public comments on social media accounts or sending messages directly to a child through a text or app.

Is my child at risk for cyberbullying?

No single factor puts a child at risk for cyberbullying, but parents should note that over three-quarters of teens ages 13-17 are using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, where cyberbullying often starts.

Factors that could make a child more susceptible to cyberbullying include: depression, anxiety, or being new to school.

What are the warning signs?

Here are some signs your child is being cyberbullied. He or she might:

  • suddenly stop going online
  • appear nervous when online
  • appear angry, depressed, or frustrated after online usage
  • become withdrawn
  • become uneasy about going to school

How can you protect children from cyberbullying?

It’s important kids know that bullying takes three people, whether it’s on the internet or in person. It takes a bully, a victim, and a bystander. Kids should learn to never be a bystander. When they see bullying happening, we want them to know they have the power to report it and stop it.

To keep children safe from abuse, talk with them about the dangers of cyberbullying. You should also set up age-appropriate parental controls on your child’s electronic devices.

Make sure you monitor the images your children post online and are aware of the social media communities they belong to. It’s a good idea to search for your child’s name in major search engines and social networks to see if anything that would make them vulnerable to cyberbullying comes up in the results.

Remember, the most important thing you can do is have a conversation with your kids about cyberbullying so they can recognize it and feel comfortable reporting it to an adult.

For more information on cyberbullying, you can visit http://www.netsmartz.org/Cyberbullying. If you’d like the Beau Biden Foundation to come to your child’s school or group and talk about online safety, contact us here: https://www.beaubidenfoundation.org/landing/contact-us-education/

PO Box 7819, Wilmington, DE 19803