The internet is a great place for young people to do research for school, share photos with friends, play video games or check out the latest trending videos. It’s important to remember that billions of people access the internet, so there are lots of opportunities to connect—but not everyone has the best intentions for doing so.
Bullying someone online—through email, social media, text messaging or any other website or app—is called cyberbullying, and it is a form of bullying that is sadly becoming more common among young people. It can be led by one person, or a whole group of people who send cruel texts or posts about a person on social media.
It’s important to teach young people to think critically before sharing personal information, pictures or videos online. Nothing on the internet is completely private, but young people can avoid unwanted contact and unwanted content by using online safety tools, understanding privacy and location settings and keeping strong passwords.
It’s best to start conversations about online safety early. Instead of trying to figure out what your child is doing on social media and with other technology, coach your child through each platform and strategies to explore safely. With your help, your child can grow as a person by exploring the world of technology and the internet while you provide a safety net of trust to fall back on.
Here are some ways to start these conversations: