When I was at school, there was just bullying. I was bullied myself , so it is quite a painful yet important topic for me. For those who don't know it, cyberbullying is when a person is harassed or harmed online or via text messages. Cyberbullying comes in many different forms. It may be rude comments to photos on social networks, offensive text messages, excluding a person from some online groups or chats, cybestalking, etc.
Teenagers are naturally curious and there is no surprise they often Google erotic things. However, it is one thing when a teenager is willingly searches for naked celebrities, for example, and when a kid involuntary sees porn or violent scenes (well, voluntary, too). There is so much inappropriate content for kids online, you cannot even imagine. I definitely wouldn't want my daughter to see that.
Scams and fraud
Yes, we all think that our kids wouldn't do that. Let's not believe that our children are angels and are very different from other teenagers. No, they're not! Sexting is something that many of them do and find quite innocent. However, the law doesn't see it in the same way. If your child either sends, resends or receives and keeps pictures with a nude or half-naked underage person, they may be charged with possession or distribution of child pornography. It is not a very pleasant process to go through.
It is potentially the most dangerous thing on the list. Your kids probably talk to a certain group of people on the Internet and have many friends on Facebook. However, you never know whom they actually speaking to. Under a profile of a cute teenage boy can actually hide an online predator who wants to seduce your daughter.
What to do?
Apart from telling the audience about all those dangers in details, the speakers also mentioned how you can protect your kids from them. There are several ways that seem to work. The following are just some of them that I can clearly remember.
Talking is the key here. Talk to your child on a regular basis and make sure you trust each other. You need to tell your kids about all the online dangers and their consequences. They need to know that the Internet is not a toy and they should use it only for good purposes.
Of course, you may be in a good relationships with your kids and trust their words and decisions. Nevertheless, the speakers advised us monitoring their online life anyways. You should check their browser history, Facebook friends and even messages. There are many inappropriate apps to block on your kids' iPhones. The specialists at the conference suggested several different apps and software for that.
Of course, you want to be your child's friend. However, you cannot stop being their parent and telling them what to do. If kids, especially teenagers, feel too much freedom, they may start experimenting with forbidden things. You have to set a strict discipline and make sure they know what is allowed and what is strictly forbidden.
I was pleasantly surprised to see such a cool conference that educates parents to protect their kids. I was very inspired to pay more attention to my child's online life and to spread this knowledge among all the parents I know. Hopefully, I could help someone here, too.