Being a parent can be terrifying.
You spend your days trying to protect tiny humans when every instinct in their body is telling them to rebel against your good advice.
Toddlers have a meltdown when forced to hold hands while crossing the road and teenagers sulk when you tell them they cannot have a phone or stay out after a certain time.
Every decision you make is for the benefit of their wellbeing but every parent also knows there are aspects to being a guardian that are out of your control.
Teenagers can be cruel, especially to each other, and bullies have existed in schools since the inception of the institute.
And over the years, little has been done to successfully eradicate bullying from the classroom or playground.
Physical and emotional threats and torments hurt in equal measures and for a parent or guardian, it can be torture watching a child struggle at the hands of a bully.
And now in a digital age, bullies are turning to online methods of cruelty.
Not only do we have to worry about bullies using a digital platform but there are online predators that we have to protect children from.
Anyone can pretend to be younger online, entire movies and television shows have been dedicated to such a deceitful act.
There is no way to stop it, we can’t control how individuals portray themselves on the internet.
But we can educate our children on how to protect themselves.
Educate them that these threats exist, how to spot a fake profile and the steps to take to report and avoid such a profile.
With the proper education, the internet doesn’t have to be a scary place.
Children pay close attention to our actions so the first step is to set a good example for them.
Don’t let cruel, hurtful, defamatory or negative thoughts and opinions find themselves online where children are likely to stumble upon them.
There are too many families and children with computers, iPhones, iPads and gaming consoles to think our children won’t have access to technology.
It’s not about restricting or forbidding their access through fear but teaching them proper use of it so they don’t harm themselves or others.
You can report cyber bullying and access help at https://www.esafety.gov.au/.