This is a link to an article about a 14 year old child who committed suicide because of cyber bullying http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/jamey-rodemeyer-bullied-teen-who-made-it-gets-better-video-commits-suicide/2011/09/21/gIQAVVzxkK_blog.html This article shows how big of a problem online issues are becoming and being a parent of teens makes me all that much more determined to be extra careful with my children's online usage. There have always been bullies and there always will be but with the technology advances today it makes the possibility of bullying much more wide spread. Instead of one or two kids in a neighborhood picking on a handful of kids you now have hundreds to thousands of social site users that can focus and tear a child's confidence to shreds and we have thousands of other predators that stalk both children and adults online daily.
Statistical information about children's online activities that were sent to me by True Care Online that point out just how much of a problem this is becoming.
• Nearly 30% of children have been contacted by a stranger online (National
Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
• Of those who’ve been contacted by a stranger, 20% don’t tell their parents
and 10% actually talk with the stranger
• 35% of teens hide their browsing history from their parents
• 27% of tweens put a fake age in their online profiles
WAYS TO PREVENT CYBER BULLYING AND PREDATORS:
Talk to your children about technology and in particular about Internet safety. Agree on a set of rules for using the computer and going on the Internet. For young children, give them an approved list of web sites. Explain to a child that he/she must never give out personal information such as family e-mail addresses, phone numbers, names, birth dates, home addresses, family details, photos, etc. Teach children what to watch for in inappropriate web sites and how to watch out for predators and bullies and to come to you if they encounter anything wrong online. Help your children understand what suspicious files and links are and how to recognize them.
Make an effort to understand the basics of the technology that your child is using on a daily basis. Know what your child is doing online, what programs he/she is using and what sites he's/she's visiting. Know who they are communicating with and keep up with it constantly.
Use internet filtering/monitoring software - You don't have to check in on what your child is doing every day, but the fact that you can -- and they know you can -- helps set the right tone for responsible behavior.
Talk to other parents and Adults about online safety. The more people in a community aware of possible problems the less likely they are to become a problem.
I received a subscription to True Care Online Social Network Monitoring service through BzzAgent and have found it to be effective in helping give a heads up on possible problems. It was easy to set up and I was able to adjust the notifications to suit my children and their friends. They also provide numerous resources for both parents and children on internet safety. Below are various links you can use to learn more about internet safety and a link for a 60 day free trial offer.
truecare.com/bzzagent. After the 60-day free trial, TrueCare membership will cost just $9.99 a month
TrueCare's Internet Safety page parents and kids can benefit from the videos, tips and other resources
Follow TrueCare on Twitter
Go to truecare.com to watch the informative video
Go to TrueCare's blog to subscribe to the blog updates