Instant Messenger and Cyber Bullying

Instant Messenger provide your teen with 24 hour access to their friends. With the proper software program, or using text messaging software on a cell phone, they can have a virtually limitless lifeline to the outside world. this addictive form of communication also has a strong potential for abuse. As we all know, teenagers can be cool. In the past, however, when the teenager was being harassed or bullied at school, I got to go home and get away from the problem. Now, however, the problem follows them home, and in the car, and to the restaurant… Well, you get the idea.

Cyber bullying is a modern phenomenon with far-reaching effects. Modern teenagers can harass and abuse each other virtually, with little to no fear of face-to-face contact. This makes it even easier to say hateful things, harass each other, and be generally cruel. far too often, parents set no limits for the children, and the harassment reigns unchecked. if the parents do get involved, they may not realize the severity of the situation until it is too late.

As a parent, it is important that you educate yourself about cyber bullying and its effects. Know your children, and know if they are being bullied, or are bullying someone else. if you find evidence of bullying, it is important that you act quickly. Your child’s school, Internet service provider, or law enforcement may all end up involved before the situation is over, depending on the severity of the offense.

If your child is the victim of bullying, keep careful records all communication. Most instant messaging software will allow you to keep a log of your conversations, which can then be printed out to show school officials or police if necessary. Remind your child how important it is not to antagonize the bully, and teach them to ignore these communications. Replying to messages or arguing with the bully may only make the situation worse. Contact any necessary officials to help keep the bully in check. Law enforcement, school officials, or the other child’s Internet service provider all may be able to help you protect your child. Bullying and harassment are against many Internet service providers terms of service, and may even get the account banned.

As with any type of bullying, the signs that your child is being victimized may not be easily visible. For this reason, it is important that you keep communication lines open with your child, especially regarding Internet use. Remind them that your door is always open, and that they are welcome to talk with you about any problems that they are having online or off-line. By practicing good communication skills in the home, you are encouraging good communication skills on the Internet.

Have a great day!

Lawrence