Just like how you join online mummy groups to get to know other mothers, junior’s active participation on social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook is a great way to make friends. This is how he interacts with people who share his interests.
However, as your kiddo can mingle anonymously while he’s online, this false sense of security might make him more open about speaking his mind. This is why cyberbullying has become a real problem. The Media Literacy Council (MLC) Singapore notes that three out of 10 school children and youths have experienced some form of cyberbullying.
But unlike other forms of bullying, like physical abuse, cyberbullying can “follow” your child anywhere he goes. It’s especially distressing for junior when the bullying is on social media, such that he thinks that the whole world knows. Many victims of cyberbullying feel helpless and might even contemplate suicide.
Many victims of cyberbullying feel helpless and might even contemplate suicide.
Following a set of rules may prevent junior from falling victim to cyberbullying or becoming an online bully. MLC chairman Lock Wai Han notes, “As [our youths] interact with others online, there is a need to learn to be responsible digital citizens and use the internet for the good of the community.” Lock shares some common dos and don’ts your tween should follow when he posts something online:
1. … Post your private information online Information on your whereabouts and personal details have no place on the Internet, unless you want to become the target of criminals. Even if you want to tag a café’s location on your Instagram, do so only after leaving the place.
2. … Spread false information or rumours Know this: Under the Telecommunications Act, passing on false information can get you fined up to $10,000 or jailed for three years or both. Disseminating a post about bomb threats in your school is your ticket to jail-time.
3. … Be rude even if you don’t agree with their views If another user spreads hate and anger on your newsfeed, don’t engage in a war of words. Remember, you can block anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable.
4. … Embarrass your friends by tagging them in “unglam” photos or videos Remember, you don’t have full control over the removal of any personal information on the Web. Even if you delete the photo, your friends may have already saved a copy of the image.
1. … Be responsible Don’t take revenge on a friend by posting an unflattering photo online. What may seem funny may cost them a job in the future. The same rule applies to sharing your opinions online. Keep your thoughts to yourself, especially if there’s any chance that these might be misconstrued or be found distasteful.
2. … Be respectful of differences Avoid using profanity, as well as racist, sexist and hypocritical language. Hate speech of any kind on the Internet — especially those that provoke violence or unrest — is also punishable by law.
An inspirational quote does more good than a rant about how stressful schoolwork is.
3. … Be empathetic and consider your choice of words Your friends on social media won’t be able to see your facial expressions or body language, so your choice of words matter. What you think is a matter-of-fact statement might actually be interpreted as sarcastic.
4. … Block or remove friends who make you feel uncomfortable It is okay to say no to any requests that make you feel uncomfortable. When your online friend harasses you or asks you sexually-suggestive questions — ignore or block them.
5. … Spread positivity online An inspirational quote does more good than a rant about how stressful schoolwork is. In any case, you don’t want to give your friends the chance to rat you out to your teacher!
In case you missed these stories…