Quora Answer: Can parental supervision actually reduce cyber bullying?

Quora Answer: Can parental supervision actually reduce cyber bullying?

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Yes it can, but I like to be careful with the term ‘supervision’.

You can mandate direct supervision, which means you have to be present whilst they go online or use their phone. This is highly effective when it works. However, this could drive your child to start accessing in secret, or even use innocent-looking apps right under your nose, that actually contain secret functions.

As an example, there are THOUSANDS of apps currently available that look like games or tools (such as calculators) that when a secret code is entered, they have a different function, typically a messaging function.

This is important because for cyberbullying to occur, there has to be some sort of digital connection - it could be a social network, a messaging app or anything with a group chat function.

Instead, we would recommend more indirect supervision. Start by deciding what rules your household / family will go online following.

  • how do you go online
  • what times of day
  • what devices can be used
  • is social networking ok
  • is game play ok
  • how do you report problems to each other
  • etc

Set these rules in place and openly discuss them with your child. Allow them freedom to explore and be part of the digital community, but mandate spot checks and discussions to ensure they are ok and being safe.

We cover cyberbullying and family contracts in the new edition of “How to Protect Your Kids Online”, which might be of help to you.

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