Can we make a Safer Internet?

Can’t tell you how disappointed I was last week with the whole Liam Neeson situation.  A conversation based on his feelings 40 years ago was really blown out of proportion on the Internet, ended up with him appearing on Good Morning America with Robyn Roberts, and having the red carpet for his new film cancelled. 

Don’t get me wrong, the adjective that he used to describe how he felt about the black man who assaulted his colleague was awful, but he did remark that after he calmed down and took stock of his feelings he felt terrible. 

It’s a good time to highlight Safer Internet Day (this past Saturday), if a conversation that occurred 40 years ago has caused so many ripples, can you imagine conversations or images that are affecting not just our children, but anyone of any age who has emotional issues. 

The internet is too open and needs policing a little more.  Children are accessing images and stories that they don’t have the emotional strength to handle.  Adults with Mental Health Issues are embracing information that in some cases is sending them deeper into a downward spiral.  How do we guard ourselves from the negativities of the Internet?

Are you watching what your children are posting/viewing online? Are you watching what YOU are posting online? Is it necessary? Is it kind? What image are you portraying to the world?  I’ve really been thinking a lot about what the messages some people (especially celebrities) are teaching our children.

Seeing the shenanigans that some celebrities are up to lately (Kardashian Instagram pictures show what?) has me concerned. This is important to me… Not just because I am always online, but because I am a mummy, I work in the media and I see worrying images and conversations on the internet ALL THE TIME.

Yes we monitor our kids devices, but these images are EVERYWHERE!

When we’re talking Internet Safety, we need to be realistic. The images of these “popular” women being naked and being famous for pretty much no reason WILL get to your children, one way or another. Images on Instagram of women being scantily clad have somehow become the standard of beauty.

It’s at this point that we as parents, need to take the reins and have the uncomfortable talks with our girls and boys. So that our sons don’t objectify women and end up being desensitised to women’s rights. So that our girls don’t grow up thinking that these images are what’s beautiful and that these women are role models.

Cyber-bullying

Bullying has been around since forever, but the bully’s reach or targets was once limited.

Perhaps you were the kid at school who was pushed around. Grown-ups in your life probably told you to just ‘deal with it’ or ‘don’t be a pushover’, or even ‘if you don’t beat them, you’ll get a beating when you come home’ – remember that one?  However, you did have one thing going for you… the bully wasn’t in your home, too.

Now that a large part of our lives are spent on social media, that has changed. In today’s tech-savvy society we carry our lives around with us, allowing bullies to reach their targets wherever they go. Cyber bullying can bring kids, teens, and even grown ups to breaking point. We must face the realisation that we are living in a society that allows a person with a keypad to use it as a lethal weapon.

How to deal with a cyber bully or how to protect your KIDS from an online bully…

Do Not Respond

cyber bullying

The first step is to stop responding to the cyber bully. Do not reply to emails, posts, IM’s or text messages. This is what the bully wants. They want you to engage with them. They want to manipulate you into responding.  If you respond in any way that is emotional or lets them know that they are getting to you and are able to make you upset, it only encourages the cyber bully.

Don’t Delete Information

While you should not respond to the cyber bully online (or offline) you should also not delete their messages. That’s right, do NOT delete their messages. Also try to save as much information you can about chats, IM’s, text messages, blog posts, websites, etc.

This will show just how often the cyber bullying takes place, at what times and from where. Every computer, server and device connected over the (TCP/IP) network has a unique IP (Internet Protocol) address. Police along with the cyber bully’s ISP (Internet Service Provider) can use this information to trace the bully right to their house.

Report the bullying to your Internet Provider, Police and Schools

You need to let appropriate authorities know about the cyber bullying or they cannot take corrective action. Cyber bullying is not something you want to ignore. It is your responsibility to report this behavior so the perpetrators can be dealt with.

So… do you agree? I know this post has been pretty opinionated, but it’s VERY important to me. I’d love to hear what you think on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

You Might Also Like...

No Comments

Leave a Reply