Protecting children from cyber bullying
Bullying involves the use of force, coercion, hurtful teasing or threat, to abuse, aggressively dominate or intimidate, which is usually done over a period of time. Bullying occurs in our schools and amongst our teens, says educator and director at Le Poshe School, Ikoyi, Ronke Posh Adeniyi.
Teens are not the only ones who experience bullying, adults do too; so, it is imperative that adults are cognizant about how to manage bullies, protect children and support those who have been bullied.
“Bullying comes in different forms and occur at varying degrees; it has had detrimental effects on the lives and families of many of the victims. Bullying can occur at home and in schools; it can be verbal, emotional, physical, cyber, social, prejudicial, or even sexual.
“Parents and educators do not need to wait till the issue is out of control before addressing it as it may be too late. Bullying should be stamped out as soon as it is identified. Many children are bullied at home, or they lack the type of love and attention they desire as a result they go to school and manifest these negative behaviours such as shunning others and getting others to isolate friends from social circles, they insult peers, tease, or judge the opinion of others. They want others to feel the pain or emptiness they feel so they like to bring others down.”
The parenting enthusiast noted that protecting children from bullies must start with educating them about what it entails, they need to know how to identify the signs and the bully so it can be reported and addressed.
“Children need to be taught how to protect themselves online and from predators. They must be empowered to report cases of bullying and where necessary, it should be addressed in confidence to protect the victims of bullying. A number of children have failed to report cases of bullying because of the backlash they will get from home or from those in authority.”
Mrs. Adeniyi said that we must teach children to recognise the warning signs of bullies such as name-calling and teasing; some have been known to take gifts to school for the bullies. Schools should have ongoing conversations with the students in their care and explain the consequences. There should be no tolerance for bullying and appropriate communication channels should always be available.
We must do our best to raise confident kids at home because it is found that many bullies have issues with their self-esteem; it is often a childhood and parenting issue.
“Cyberbullying is on the rise so parents must ensure that their children are of the right physical, mental, and emotional age before allowing them online. They need to be educated about the consequences of their actions online and how to be safe online. They also need to let children know that cyberbullying is not to be tolerated or hidden. Ignorance is no longer an excuse, so parents and schools need to be informed and make sure that they use the tools available to protect the children in their care.
“Prevention they say is better than cure so we must all do what we can to stamp out bullying from our circles of influence,” she added.