Many young people go online to find acceptance or popularity as their parents may be too busy at work to give them any attention or even a listening ear. In cyberspace, trends come and go, but many young people forget that fleeting moments in online interactions can have a lasting impact in real life.
It is almost impossible to retract something that we have said online even after we have deleted them as it might still be visible to friends who have shared it to other people. Besides, the tone or context of an online remark can be easily misconstrued. It is important that we educate students to recognise how words may be read or interpreted by others, so that they do not unwittingly become cyber bullies or victims of cyber bullying. While cyber bullying is not done face-to-face, they can still be emotionally damaging to the child.
Some parents who are unfamiliar with the Internet and worried about online risks want to keep their child from using the Internet altogether. Others may constantly look over a child’s shoulder whenever he / she is online. However, parents should instead aim to strike a balance and take an interest in what their child is doing online. You could ask your child over dinner about the latest topic his / her friends are talking about online. You may also befriend your child on Facebook but be a silent observer.
These will help bring light to any cyber bully events, such as name-calling among classmates or other undesirable habits that may require follow-up action. It is recommended for you to talk to your child face-to-face rather than making comments online if you have any particular concerns. It is observed that parents who become acquainted with their child’s regular online habits are better placed to recognise situations that require their attention – if a child has a loss of appetite / becomes withdrawn amid unusually heightened online activities etc.
That’s no hard and fast rules on cyber wellness but since the technology is already here, why not make full use of it for learning, socialising and sharing of information?
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