Cyberbullying is a scary crime – because unlike the bullying ‘in our day’, it is a lot more hidden these days – taking place on mobile phones so it can be harder to spot. Here, Lee Parry from iOS data recovery experts Enigma Recovery offers his advice for keeping your kids safe from bullies online.
Protecting your kids from harm is your number one priority as a parent, but how can you be sure that they’re staying safe online? Only 35% of UK students have never been a victim of cyberbullying, and that figure has been getting steadily worse over the last five years (source: TechJury), so it’s important to be vigilant.
Below are just some of the ways you can help your child deal with menacing messages and media if you suspect they are being cyberbullied.
Teach your children how to respond
Although it can be tempting, your child should know never to retaliate. Instead, tell them that they can block the bully and report the messages through the app or program they received them on.
Most importantly, you need to encourage your children to be open and honest about their experiences. Kids should be comfortable talking to their parents about what they get up to online so try to have frank conversations about staying safe and regularly discuss how they’re feeling. You should also let them know that any restrictions you place on their activity is for their own safety and not a punishment.
Keep a record of the offences
If your child is receiving hateful messages, images, or videos then their first instinct might be to delete them, but keeping a record of all the bullying they’ve received can help to stop the problem. If the bullies persist, what you collect can be used as evidence to help get justice by showing it to the offenders’ parents, their school, or the police depending on the severity.
It’s possible that your child was deleting offensive instances of cyberbullying at first but now they want to document them all as evidence. Or, perhaps they removed the upsetting messages out of shame and now they’re ready to share them with you. Either way, you can easily recover data previously deleted from your child’s devices using recovery software, including messages sent via apps like iMessage, Kik, and WhatsApp that have been backed up to the cloud.
Wise up on privacy settings and parental controls
Privacy settings allow you to control who can access their data, as well as who they can contact and be contacted by. Parental controls limit the amount that your child can do on certain apps, such as taking away their ability to make in-app purchases or access chat rooms, so they can be handy in keeping your child safe from bullying.
If the bullying doesn’t get any better, they might have to delete their accounts and make a new profile with a screen name that doesn’t give away their identity, and then share it with only their closest friends. That way, they can take part in games and social media anonymously without being targeted.
The tips in this guide can help you protect your children from cyberbullying. Block and report, don’t retaliate, and keep a record of everything they receive.
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