Parents should be more involved in their childrens' online activities and know what to do if their child is being bullied in cyberspace or engaging in sexting. Bridget Roberts-Pittman, Indiana State University assistant professor of counseling said that parents need to be aware of major changes in child's behavior as in response to cyber bullying and sexting issues. She added that," Behavior change is a part of adolescence. However, a significant change could mean the child is dealing with a serious issue such a cyber bullying." She further added ," Parents should be aware of signs such as anxiety, depression, their child not wanting to attend school or making a drastic decision such as quitting a sports team."
Bridget also said that parents need to be aware of what their child is doing in cyberspace.
From the parents point of view , 93 percent of them said that they knew what their children were doing online and 52 percent of children stated that they do not tell their parents what they do online. She said," Parents have a right to check their child's phone and Internet use." Roberts-Pittman also suggested software packages like Spectorsoft or I Am Big Brother.
Pittman said that parents could take steps to help their children if they are involved in sexting and cyber bulling. She added that," Parents need to talk to their children about cyber bullying and sexting. Children today are so saturated with technology that they might not even recognize the behavior as a serious problem."
Parents should first listen to their children. She added that,"It is critical that children feel heard and understood," she continued saying that," Keeping an open dialogue about issues such as peers is not easy, but very important for children to know that they can talk to their parents."
It is said that children often do not talk to their parents because they are afraid of their parents revoking their cell phone or computer privileges. They also don't believe their parents have the technical knowledge to understand. They also fear their parents will say "I told you so." In response to cyber bullying , there is a second step for parents to help their children and that is through options. She stated that ," They can and should talk to the police about harassment," she continued saying that," If the information is posted on a social networking site, they can contact the site to have the information removed."
The third step is to save all of the texts and emails sent to the child. The information can be traced and tracked. She added that ," It seems to be the parent's natural tendency to encourage their child to ignore the information and delete but that is the opposite of what we want children to do."
Parents of the child being bullied may want to address the cyberbullying with the parents of the child committing the bullying. She said ," I only encourage parents to do this if they have the saved information to share with the other parents."
The fourth step was that , parents should share the information with school personnel. Roberts-Pittman said ," The collaboration between parents and school officials is critical to address the cyber bullying and sexting."