Technology continues to factor heavily in children’s school lives. As students go back to school, computers and cell phones are being used for research assignments and communicating with teachers and classmates. However, families should set technology boundaries for the school year.
Studies have found that one in five students is bullied each year.
Harris County Department of Education Teaching and Learning Center Curriculum Director for Digital Education and Innovation Colina Poullard reminds parents to keep an eye on their children’s use of technology.
One thing Poullard says parents can do to keep children safe is to install a form of spyware on phones.
“You can do this with your child’s knowledge or not to keep them safe from cyberbullying,” she said. “You can also use the spyware for setting timers for how long they can be on social media and as a locater to know where they are at all times.”
Other tips include keeping tabs on your child’s emotions. If there is a change, learn a child wants to be on social media apps. Follow the account to see what is going on. Also, let the teen know what is appropriate or not to post online.
People who cyberbully will hide behind different online accounts to either get attention or to be hurtful towards others. Either way, it’s harassment and includes serious ramifications.
“Cyberbullying is defined in the law, but not in people’s mind,” Poullard said.
Parents should talk to a child up front about bullying, discuss what the student can do to stop it and set consequences if their child is the bully.
“Most kids will hide and not come forward about being cyberbullied because they don’t want to make a big deal about it,” she said. “However, it can cause long-lasting damage to the child.”
If cyberbullying is taking place, make sure to keep all the evidence to get both sides of story when reporting to campus leaders to solve the issue.
“The key is safety-first while children are using technology and taking these steps,” Poullard said.