October is National Bullying Prevention Month and National Cyber Security Month.

Both are extremely important topics that need to be discussed 365 days a year which was the focus of my recent post for Platform for Good, Family Online Safety Institute: Short Chats Are Better Than No Chats. Offline parenting will help create safer online children.

We have read about many reasons that people will harass others online (cyberbullying).

  • E-venge, jealous of a person
  • Peer pressure to fit into a clique
  • Believe people deserve it
  • Boredom
  • Lack empathy
  • Believe that cyberbullying is part of culture
  • Simply mean people
  • and whatever reasons they can come up……

I was fortunate to be able to attend a conference with leading Cyberbullying Expert, Dr. Sameer Hinduja, co-founder of The Cyberbullying Research Center this month.  This was the second time I heard him speak, and each time he has incredible information that everyone needs to learn from.

Here was some stats his research revealed about what are teens are doing online per second.

Every second, more than:

  • 4,000 pictures are uploaded to Facebook
  • 700 pictures are uploaded to Instagram
  • 4,600 “snaps” are sent
  • 5,700 “tweets” are posted
  • 66,000 people search using Google
  • 60 users pin to Pinterest
  • 100 minutes of video is uploaded to YouTube
  • 5 ½ gigabytes of data are uploaded to Facebook
  • Girls post and tag twice as many photos as boys

So what are our teens sharing?  Or oversharing?

Sharing too much can invite online bullying.  You may have friends that are envious of what you have or what you are doing, and there are always going to be the Internet trolls that simply don’t like certain content and will become antagonistic.  Before you know it you will be part of an Internet cyber-war and your name will be smeared by cyber-smut.

Let’s remind our kids (and parents it’s a good reminder for you too) share with care, and if you must share “extra’s” – use your privacy settings, after you de-cluttered your friends list!

Dr. Sameer Hinduja also recommended that parents take daily chats offline.  Talk to your kids about all this cyber-action.  Was that picture really something that needed to be uploaded?  Will that Tweet be something they will regret a few days from now?  Unfortunately kids don’t have the ability to understand the future – it is all about the “now”.

We can’t wait for national tragedies to happen to have the talk. 

During the month of October take the time to educate yourself about how you will be discussing cyber-awareness with your children all year round.  The best place to start is learning more from the Cyberbullying Research Center and their research and resources.

Purchase their books, and especially the one for your tween and tweens – Words Wound and equip them to cyber-surf with the tools they need to become a cyber-mentor to someone and better protect themselves.