Know the Signs

June 28th, 2011 by Stephenie Ochoa

Yes teenagers may seem like aliens, and yes they can sometimes smell funny, but they are still our children and we still have to figure out what is bothering them, ESPECIALLY when they are networking. Neither of my sons want to be combat helicopter pilots or professional spies anymore, but just because they are harder to recognize in their current growth period doesn’t mean they still don’t need my protection.

Call me a worrywart, but I work for ImageVision and our research shows that cyberbullying is more prevalent than most parents understand. With children able to share at warp-factor five speed on multiple sites whether online or over the phone, problems can rise quickly with little to no warning. One minute your teenagers are exhibiting normal alien-like teenaged behavior and the next minute they are a bit withdrawn and sulking for longer periods of time. Our red flags go up and even though these signs could be hormonal, drugs, or any number of things that tell us our teens are going through a rough time, they could also indicate they have been victims of cyberbullying.

 

Our words of wisdom, KNOW THE SIGNS!

 

  1. Have access to their accounts and periodically check their profiles or pages for anything posted.
  2. Friend them, read and engage in their worlds. Don’t hover, just be conscious of what they are saying and doing.
  3. Pay attention to the details. For instance, if the same friend comes to your child’s page on Facebook and calls him names over and over again, check it out. Talk to your child about the behavior and see how you can help.
  4. If you have found cyberbullying, don’t hesitate to take action. Make screen shots, date and time stamp the incidents.
  5. If applicable, notify the school.
  6. Notify the parents of the bully if you can identify the person behind the bullying.
  7. Notify the parents of the bully if possible.
  8. Notify the authorities.
  9. Notify the mobile phone service provider and block the number if the bullying is sending texts via cell phone.
  10. Notify the website or social networking places that your child frequents. Follow the recommendations given   for what to do to report inappropriate behaviors.
  11. Help your child identify his real friends or contacts and delete others. If necessary, kill the profiles, let it rest  a few weeks and then help your child to rebuild his social media practices to avoid future bullying scenarios.
  12. Consistently be there for your child when it comes to his online or mobile world. Just because it all seems like fun, it is the way our youth communicates and if they aren’t able to communicate in the same ways as their peers, then they will have feelings of being left out, pressured, isolated and lonely which are all very valid feelings…..even for aliens.

 

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