October is National Bullying Prevention Month. And it’s something every parent should pay attention to. We have watched for the past few years as cyberbullying has become the biggest online threat our kids are facing today. It’s time to do something.
According to a recent study from MTV and the Associated Press, more than half (56%) of our nation’s kids have experienced a form of digital abuse. This is up from the 50% reported in the 2009 digital abuse survey.
This single statistic should be a huge eye-opener for parents. The data reveals a problem of epidemic proportions. It is essentially saying that in any given group of teens and young adults, more than half have been bullied online, which is tragic.
The new 2011 study asked 1,355 teens and young adults (ages 14-24) about their experience with cyberbullying and online harassment. In the study, 76% of those asked admit that digital abuse is a problem for their age group. However, despite the increase in respondents experiencing online harassment from 2009, there was also an increase in the number of respondents that said they were likely to step in and try to stop someone they saw “being mean online.”
And yet, for every child that’s bullied, there’s a tormentor, or – more likely – a group of tormentors, hiding behind a closed door. Cyberbullying starts with anonymity on the Internet, but it succeeds through the ability to operate secretly in the home.
It’s time to face the facts: cyberbullying is not going to go away until the parents of the bullies know what their kids are doing online and step in to stop aggressive behavior. The best way for parents to help end cyberbullying now is by monitoring their child’s internet activity and online interactions not only to protect them, but also to make sure they are not bullying others in any way.
That’s why we created our PC Pandora computer monitoring software. Like DVR for the TV, this program records everything and anything on a PC, allowing parents to see everything their child is doing both off and online. Parents can see screenshots of all activity, plus text-based logs of all instant messenger conversations, social network chats and posts, websites visited, search queries, programs used, keystrokes and much more. Whatever a child does on the computer, good or bad, PC Pandora will show their parents everything.
A tool like this can help end the cyberbullying epidemic by showing parents exactly what their kids are doing online, and how they are interacting with others. If a child is being bullied, the parents will have records and information they can use to help put an end to the situation before it gets worse. But the program will also work on the flip-side, when a parent has a bully in their house.
An attentive parent can easily notice the signs of a cyberbullying victim. Kids are also more likely to tell their parents when they are being harassed online. But I can assure you that 100% of bullies do not tell their parents what they are doing to others online. The signs are much harder, near impossible, to spot. Computer monitoring software will show parents the truth so they can deal with the situation head-on, instead of reacting to unfortunate outcomes later.
So if this great solution is available, why is every parent in the country not using it? Why do parents continue to let their kids surf in a non-monitored environment? Why do parents let the cyberbullies remain anonymous in their own home? Because, for some reason, when it comes to using software to monitor child internet activity, many parents are still apprehensive. They feel they are invading the privacy of their children and that the simple filters and blocks are good enough to prevent cyberbullying from invading their home. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, this line of thinking can eventually lead to cyberbullying.
The rules of parenting have changed. The 21st century is a whole new ballgame. Discussion is not enough. Tweens and teens need to be monitored online. The Internet should be considered a privilege, not a right.
It’s time to be a strong parent. It’s time to be proactive about cyberbullying by making sure your child is not a part of the problem. Monitor Internet activity of your kids and help end cyberbullying now!