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Bully-Proof Kids by Stella O’Malley

By Maeve Ward
In Headlines
Jul 28th, 2017
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Bully-Proof Kids by Stella O’Malley

Based on the author’s years’ experience counselling bullies and targets, ‘Bully-proof Kids’ offers concrete strategies to empower children and teenagers to deal confidently with bullying and dominant characters. Here, she presents some useful tips to parents when dealing with cyberbullying.

 The dos and don’ts of dealing with cyberbullying

  • Do attend to your child first. Deal with the content on screen later. Many parents become obsessed with the content and forget that this is the time when the child needs reassurance and love most.
  • Do take a screen shot. Record the evidence if you plan to complain. If you don’t, then delete the post immediately.
  • Don’t feed the trolls. Teach your kids not to get involved in a back-and forth with vindictive people –– even if they have thought of the perfect retort. Although trolling and vicious social media posts can be very upsetting to anyone, it is worse for teenagers.
  • Do ask your child what they worry about online. Go ‘there’. Ask them what they would do if they were attacked online. Explore the different possibilities without discounting any event as improbable. Warn your teenagers that they need never turn to suicide if something awful happens. Everything passes and this too shall pass.
  • Do supervise your child’s online activity. A study by the National Anti-Bullying Centre in 2015 found that fewer than 20% of parents supervise their child’s online activity. Think of social media as a party that is going on in the next room. Do you know their ‘friends’? Predators often have fake profiles and they target teenagers. It only takes one gullible teenager to accept the fake profile as a ‘friend’ and then they can infiltrate the group as a ‘friend of a friend’.
  • Do activate parental controls on devices. Parents should check the ‘Restrictions’ on tablets and mobile phones as age ratings on downloads and apps can be enforced in the device’s settings. Parents can also filter out adult content on Google searches by using Google Safesearch. There are also safety features available from your broadband or phone provider.

Stella O’Malley is the author of Bully-Proof Kids, published by Gill Books, which is currently part of the Eason Summer rechargers online promotion and is priced at €11.24

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