Bullying will always exist in schools, colleges and in the work place and it is the responsibility of these organisations to keep their students and employees safe. As a parent we also have a responsibility to keep our children safe too and therefore I feel it is important to have conversations with your children about bullying.
When I was in school I was bullied because I wore glasses in the days when it wasn't cool to wear glasses. I was also mature for my age, being tall at the age of 10. It's a sad fact that bullies pick on anyone that is slightly different in any way. As a parent we need to tell children what to do if they are bullied and help them stick up for themselves, without making it worse.
With the advent of technology comes a different type of bullying - online bullying, in a recent survey by My Voucher Codes, Tech Lounge commented that 58% percent of parents were extremely worried about online bullying, whilst 49% were worried about access to adult content.
Do you know what is happening to your child online?
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While parents were concerned about bullying online, access to adult content and sharing inappropriate images, the majority were not worried about their children running up huge bills on their tablets and smartphones.
So what can you do to protect your children online? The Internet is not the devil and is part of daily life today so being open and honest with your children is important so they feel they can come to you if they feel at risk online.
If a child is being bullied online it's important that the child speaks up, so create an atmosphere of trust so they can come and tell you or a responsible adult, like a teacher. Each social network is different but teach the child how to report bullying online if it does happen by blocking and reporting the person.
Teaching self respect is also vitally important, as every parent knows and it can be embarrassing talking to children about sex, but a chat in age appropriate language can help prevent them getting into awkward situations, such as sharing inappropriate images of themselves online or via a mobile phone. Teaching children about their digital footprint, and that what they share online can be around for years to come, is also extremely important. Never share anything online that you don't want your parents or friends seeing now or in the future.
If your children are of primary age I think it's a good idea not to allow them to have access to the Internet out of your sight. That is a simple way of monitoring what is going on.
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Service providers can block adult content and parental control software such as Net Nanny can manage time spent online, block pornography, and monitor social media.
There are a variety of sites that can also help. Childline has a very good section on protecting children online and with mobile use. Think You Know is another great site run by the National Crime Agency, which covers sex, relationships and the Internet and offers advice to teenagers on what to do in uncomfortable situations. BullyingUK also has an excellent website with lots of help and advice.
Tell me how do you help protect your children online?
* I have written this as I have an interest in technology and prevention of bullying, all words and opinions are my own.