It’s no surprise to anyone that sometimes the internet can be an unsafe place for kids. Years ago, many parents were concerned about predators targeting children through chatrooms and other websites, and while this holds true today, there is another threat that’s on the rise among teens and tweens: cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is the practice of making hurtful comments or otherwise targeting a person online, often through social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. In fact, as many as 95% of teens who use social media have witnessed some form of cruel behavior on these sites — and have seen others ignore or not make an effort to stop that type of bullying.
Many parents wonder how to monitor internet activity for their children to ensure that they are staying safe online. There are several steps that parents can take to protect kids on social media sites and other parts of the internet. If you are a concerned parent, here are a few suggestions to get you started.
1. Use internet activity monitoring software: There are several different programs available that allow parents to check on their children through the web, and these applications can alert parents of suspicious activity. Some of it is also internet content filtering software, so you can keep kids away from certain sites. While this method regarding how to monitor internet activity may seem invasive, it’s an easy and effective way to ensure that your children are staying safe online.
2. Check in on your child’s activity: Make sure to watch your kids while they’re online, too. If they have their face buried in a phone or tablet screen or they’ve spent considerable time on their computer, ask them what’s up. While you don’t have to snoop if it makes you uncomfortable, sometimes asking can lead to honest answers (and put your fears to rest).
3. Watch your child’s behavior IRL: (That’s “in real life,” by the way.) If your kids seem upset, or if there’s a change in behavior like suddenly avoiding the internet, this could be a warning sign that your child has dealt with cyberbullying. Ask them if something happened, and if they say yes, it could be a sign to get involved. Sometimes, making sure that your child’s mental health is okay after a cyberbullying incident can save his or her life.
Approximately 68% of teens today agree that cyberbullying is a serious issue among young people, so preventative measures can sometimes be the most effective if you’re a concerned parent. If you’d like more advice on how to monitor internet activity and keep tabs on your kids, follow these tips for internet safety and leave a comment below.