Cyberbullying is wake-up call for parents

Cyberbullying is wake-up call for parents

“Children today face threats beyond physical violence or face-to-face encounters,” said Ritesh Chopra, Country Manager, Norton by Symantec.

The ‘Norton Cyber Security Insights Reports: Family Edition’ reveals concerns expressed by anguished parents about online bullying

“Children today face threats beyond physical violence or face-to-face encounters,” said Ritesh Chopra, Country Manager, Norton by Symantec. “Cyberbullying is a growing issue and parents are struggling to identify and respond to this threat. A concern for many parents is that it doesn’t stop when their child leaves school- as long as your child is connected to a device, a bully can connect to them.”

Chopra was speaking in reference to the findings of the ‘2016 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report: Family Edition’, which released on Tuesday. The report sheds light on parents’ perceptions of cyber bullying and the preventative measures they are putting in place to protect their children.

It reveals that while 40 per cent of Indian parents allowed their children to access the Internet before age 11, many had a wide range of concerns. For example, more than half (54 per cent) believe their children are more likely to be bullied online than on a playground.

Parents’ chief concerns were that their children might:
• Download malicious programs or a virus (71 per cent)
• Disclose too much personal information to strangers (69 per cent)
• Be lured into meeting a stranger in the physical world (65 per cent)
• Do something online that makes the whole family vulnerable (62 per cent) or embarrassed (60 per cent)
• Be lured into illegal activities like hacking (61 per cent)

Parents step up cyber security​

The report shows that Indian parents are starting to recognise how damaging cyberbullying can be for children and are putting in place preventative measures. One interesting finding from the survey is that parents from countries, who had the strictest preventative measures in place also had the lowest incidence of cyberbullying. The survey also reveals that 7 per cent of parents fail to take any action to protect their children online.

“Many parents are still in the dark about how to recognize the signs of cyberbullying and what to do if their children are impacted. The first steps for all parents is to educate themselves about the signs of cyberbullying and learn how to establish an open line of communication with their children,” said Chopra.

Measures to ensure cyber security by parents:
• 57 percent parents chose to check their child’s browser history
• 46 percent only allow access to certain websites
• 48 percent allow Internet access only with parental supervision; 37percentreview and approve all apps before they are downloaded
• 36 percent enable Internet access only in household common areas
• 35 percent limit information their child can post on social profiles

Starting a conversation

If you suspect or are worried about cyberbullying, the first step is communication. Cyberbullying is a sensitive subject, and starting a conversation can be difficult. The report indicates that only 17 percent of Indian parents reported their child was cyberbullied.

While on the surface, this may seem like cyberbullying is not a problem, the reality is that many parents don’t know how to recognize the signs of cyberbullying, so the problem is likely under-reported. Additionally, many children choose to remain silent about cyberbullying due to a fear of losing access to devices and the Internet, or that parents will embarrass them or exacerbate the problem by contacting the bully’s parents or the school.

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