Words are powerful, more powerful than many give them credit for. They can inspire and heal and fill the world with beauty, but they can be a double-edged sword, easily manipulated to cause pain and inflict misery when wielded by someone with an ugly heart.
Words serve the wicked as weapons as they cowardly hide behind a cyber shield of anonymity. The prey upon the needy, the weak, the hurt, the young, the innocent. They click away at keyboards, wounding their victims one keystroke at a time.
Parents need to educate themselves, they need to communicate with their children, they need to teach their children how to handle a cyber bully situation.
Parents . . . you NEED to know what your child is doing online. What sites they frequent, who they are communicating with. It’s OKAY to insist on having passwords.
It’s OKAY to limit access and place restrictions on their computers and phones and game consoles. It’s OKAY to check your child’s history and internet usage. It’s OKAY to check their text messages.
As a matter of fact, it’s VITAL.
Until your child is 18 years old, it’s your RESPONSIBILITY to protect and teach them.
– Don’t let your child become a victim –
A personal note on PRIVACY
While my children were growing up, privacy meant closing the door when you bathed or got dressed. Privacy did not extend to their online activities. At all. If I didn’t have access to their devices, they didn’t get to have the devices. Period. I reserved the right to block, monitor, and investigate . . . until they were 18 years old.
It is NOT an invasion for a parent to check in on what their children are doing.
We live in a world where the bad guys – the pedophiles, the perverts, the rapists, the bullies – can sneak into our children’s rooms anytime they like. They can ride the school bus with them, sit in their classrooms, and tag along to sleepovers. There is an always open window for them to climb right in without ever being seen.
I took great care to keep my children safe from these kinds of real-life monsters, the ones on the other side of their computer screens are no less real, and no less dangerous. Talk to your kids, just talk to them. Set boundaries. Let them know they can talk to you, tell you anything. Make sure they understand the dangers that lurk in disguise and what to do when they recognize them.
Give your children power over them by being present, and aware, and vigilant. I said words were powerful, and they are, but they can be silenced. They can be ignored . . . teach your children how to listen to them and learn which ones really matter.
A must read. So happy you wrote this. All day yesterday I kept thinking about this topic. Thank you for writing this. No two ways about it, you are 100% correct!!
Excellent post! My daughter was cyber bullied and my husband and I didn’t stop until those responsible were punished…and they were. Parents need to pay attention and take a stand. The old cliche “it will never happen to my child” is just plain ignorant. Oh and put down the phones, ipads, etc and PAY ATTENTION!! Thanks for posting this!!