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Preventing Cyberbullying in the Age of Smart Phones

A teen girl looks at her cellphone with concern, as other teens gather and look at their cellphones in the background.

Smart Phones, the Internet, and Cyberbullying Prevention

In a world where smart phone use by children and teens is very common, the internet and social media are always at their fingertips. While smart phones offer children and teens many ways to learn, connect with others, and have fun, they also may put children at increased risk of being cyberbullied.

In addition to using smart phones to connect socially through texting and social media apps, some children also use smart phones to participate in gaming. Video games offer children ways to develop their cognitive, motor, and emotional skills while having fun. Some gaming platforms allow users to play with family members, friends, and people they have never met in person.  Playing with others online can help children improve their social skills but could also expose them to cyberbullying.

How Parents Can Help Prevent Cyberbullying

Parents play a protective role in guiding their children and teen’s digital lives. As a parent, you can monitor your child’s device use, check in with them about their online activities, and educate them about digital safety and etiquette. Teaching children and teens good digital citizenship skills can help prevent cyberbullying and keep them safe online. Good digital etiquette and safety tactics can change as children get older.

Parents are also the ones to establish rules for how their children use social media and the internet. You can create privacy controls, establish which apps are age-appropriate, and discuss what content to post, view or share, dependent on a child’s age. You may also teach your child how to deal with “haters” who post negative content online.

Read more about popular social media, apps, and sites used by children and teens.