In Cyber Safety, The Digital World

Protecting Children from Text Bullying: Things to Know

As a parent, it is normal to be naturally protective of your children. It hurts to see or hear your child being hurt and bullied by anyone. When you send your children to school, you want to be sure that they go there to learn and make friends and not bullied by others. However, bullying is indeed, now a fact in many schools. Learn how to protect your children from Text Bullying!

Reports on the number of children being bullied have sky-rocketed during recent years. As a parent, you probably wish to safeguard your child from being included in one of these statistics. However, it is probably not possible for children to stay at home all of the time or be with them during school hours.

Keeping your child at home does not guarantee that they will be kept safe from bullying, especially text bullying. With more children owning their own mobile phones, parents do not only worry about what games their children are playing and who they are talking to, but also text bullying. Aside from physical bullying, text bullying has taken significant shape in recent years. With hate messages or insults being bombarded to victims’ cell phones, more kids are dropping out from school or incurring many absences yearly just to avoid being bullied.

Bullying by definition occurs within a social context and is jointly influenced by individual characteristics of the child and contextual characteristics of the setting. The same can be said about text bullies. Although attention may in fact be a goal of bullies, their friends who reinforce this behavior are not the root of the problem. Most perpetrators of bullying come from broken families where there are many underlying problems. It is important to note that the act of bullying is an attention seeking, reinforcing behavior.

As parents, it is now considered your responsibility to know more about text bullying and stop kids from getting into the business of making others feel bad, even if it is just a simple text message. The first step is to understand the profile of a text bully.

What Parents Can Do

While parents cannot protect their children all the time and cannot control the actions of other children, there are ways for parents to knock down text bullying issues and protect their children from the harmful effects of bullying.

1- Know The Characteristics of a Bully

A bully in general, is an individual who exhibits significant externalizing behaviour, has internalizing symptoms, and has both social competence and academic challenges. A bully is also likely to have negative attitudes and beliefs about others, have negative self-related cognitions, and have trouble resolving problems with others. A typical bully also comes from a family environment characterized by conflict and poor parental monitoring. It is interesting and pertinent to note that bullies and victims are more alike than what the average person thought them to be.

There are many different individual and contextual predictors of victimization and bullying. Individual predictors such as gender, age, self-related cognitions, social competence, and academic performance are correlated to bullying and victimization. Contextual predictors such as family/home environment, community factors, peer status, peer influence, and school climate are also correlated to bullying and victimization. It is important to note that these possible predictors apply differently across individuals.

2-Teach Kids Proper and Smart Mobile Usage

It is important to tell your kids that having a mobile phone is a big responsibility. It is important to teach them to not share their number with strangers and not text any type of secrets. Set a limit to the time your child can use their mobile phones. Keep an eye on their texting activities. Teach them the value of proper communication.

3- Make Sure Your Child’s Mobiles have Reliable Adults’ Numbers

Children should know that their parents are on their side when they are bullied. Most children will not tell their parents when they are bullied, especially if it comes in the form of a text. They are insecure and afraid that their parents will just brush their fears aside. Children should have confidence in you as their parents as well as on other reliable adults, such as their siblings or aunts. Important phone numbers should be in their contacts so that in case they want to forward a hate message or ask for help, then you and other adults are just a text or call away.
Children find it easier to text hate messages against other children they do not like or just want to bully. Text bullying is even easier to do because it affords the perpetrator with complete anonymity. However, this does not mean that you cannot protect your child against text bullying. While it may be difficult to do so, there is no reason to let text bullies continue to victimize others. This is especially true for children who are still young, sensitive, and impressionable.

Learn more on Teens and Sexting


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