The consequences of long periods online have taken their toll on both children and adults, who may find it difficult to balance the positive and negative imprints of the internet. We’re all aware of the long-term effects that cyber bullying and harassment can have on one’s wellbeing and mental health. Young children and teenagers are especially vulnerable, since they are less aware of their self-worth, and are constantly comparing themselves with others.
Today’s kids are part of the generation that will further define the digital world. It’s necessary to bolster their self-esteem, teach resilience, and encourage self-care. In cybersecurity, confidence and resilience go hand in hand. Cyber confidence will help you and your kids deter any online harassment, digital miscreants and malicious attacks that you may come across.
It may take some effort and reassurance, but once you trust your instincts and abilities, and move outside your comfort zone, you can gain the confidence you need to stand up for yourself and others who find themselves in unpleasant or harmful situations online.
Here are a couple of rules you can follow to help build your or your child’s self-confidence online:
Don’t compare yourself with others you see online:
Remember, social media is full of smoke and mirrors. Always scrutinize the information you see or hear.
Treat yourself and others with respect and positivity:
We should all be kind and treat people with empathy and respect. Children often mirror caretakers’ and parents’ behaviour online, so promoting good cyber citizenship will help model a child’s behaviour.
Stand up for yourself and others in need:
People bully and harass for many reasons, and putting a stop to these issues has become a great concern for parents. Don’t turn a blind eye to any form cyberbullying or harassment – speak up and always report bad behaviour online. Do not avoid signalling to the authorities if the attack is one that targets your integrity. Empowering kids to be upstanders encourages them to take the high road. Let them know it’s always ok to stand up for things they know are wrong.
Retaliating or seeking revenge against a cyberbully can escalate the conflict. Whether you’re an adult or a child, never respond angrily or copy the bully’s behaviour as it may have severe consequences on your online reputation as well.
Surround yourself with people who share your dreams and values:
Even if you are not a very sociable person, don’t isolate yourself. Keeping yourself true to yourself requires other people, paradoxically. Make your life as rich as possible, depending on your interests. Carefully select the groups you belong to and the materials you follow.
Let’s Stop Cyberbullying, Start Cyber confidence today and every day by building a strong community dedicated to rewriting the narrative, so we can grow and develop into more confident, encouraged and accountable digital citizens.
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