- Am I letting things go because I’m worried about making things worse for the person being targeted? Some things we do when we witness cyberbullying – even when we’re trying to help – can make things worse, so it’s always a good idea to step back and think about the situation before jumping in.
- Am I hoping that someone else will do something so I don’t have to? A lot of people are reluctant to take action, but did you know that almost three-quarters of kids who’ve witnessed cyberbullying did something about it? If that surprises you, it may be because a lot of the things we can do to help – like speaking privately to the person who’s being mean, or letting the person who’s being targeted know you care about them – don’t happen in public.
- Am I letting things go because I don’t think I can do anything to help? Actually, what you do is super important. What witnesses do about bullying is actually one of the most important factors in how much someone is hurt by it and can go a long way in building positive online spaces.
Before you react, ask yourself:
Lots of times kids will say they’re not bullying, they’re ‘just joking’ – in fact, it’s the number one reason for being mean online. Other times, people will play down how serious the situation really is.
Along with images of natural disasters and violence, one all-too-common news item that can be distressing to kids is reports of hate crimes. Seeing or hearing about hate-motivated assaults and vandalism of homes, cemeteries and places of worship in media, can lead to fear and anxiety in young people, especially if they belong to a vulnerable group. In many cases, the effect will be worse because news isn’t the only place Canadian kids see hate and racism: almost half see hateful content online at least once a month, and one in six sees it every day.
Did you know that almost a quarter of adults have shared a false news story, and that we’re least likely to fact-check news and other things that come to us through people we know and trust on social networks (even though for many people these are their most common sources of news)?
Minimize screen use, especially for the youngest children:
Online news is one of the hardest things to verify. Sometimes early reports that turn out not to be true still circulate on the Internet, and people may spread false reports for commercial or malicious reasons, or even just for “fun.”
Being well-informed – and being careful to only share good information – are essential parts of being an active citizen in a democracy. It’s important to think before you share political information with family and friends – especially during an election.
Many Internet providers provide tools and services to help you manage your child’s online experience. Check with your provider to see what they offer that will allow you to block different sites, monitor your kids’ online activities and set times when the Internet is not available.
Operating systems are the “toolbox” that your computer, phone or other digital device uses to run programs and apps.