Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month?? If you’ve worried about your kids being on social media…and whether or not they’re getting cyber bullied…here’s a couple important tips for you!
This is straight from the horse’s mouth! Instagram released a parent’s guide, and it’s available as a downloaded PDF. It can help everyone from the technophobic parent to those of us who are online as much as the teenagers in our house. (Yes, the first topic in the PDF is WHAT IS INSTAGRAM??)
Did you know you can lock down your kid’s privacy settings without cramping their style? Check out page 13.
Did you know you can control who comments on their photos? Check out page 21.
Did you know you can FILTER out bad words? Check out page 27.
Instagram Cracks down on Cyberbullying
You don’t have to be afraid if your kid is on Instagram! Lately the tech giant has been adding updates to make its app a safe place to share photos. Sure, if you lock down your kid’s — or your own — Instagram account you’re not going to be the next rising star of social media with thousands of followers. But at least you’ll know your kid’s phone is a much safer and friendlier place!
(And really, do you want your kid to be the next Lil Tay? I didn’t think so.)
On October 9, 2018 Instagram added their bully comment filter to swat nasty comments from live video AND photos!
“This change will help us identify and remove significantly more bullying— and it’s a crucial next step since many people who experience or observe bullying don’t report it. It will also help us protect our youngest community members since teens experience higher rates of bullying online than others.” ~ Adam Mosseri, Instagram VP
Kindness Camera Effect
We all love camera filters, right? Instagram launched a new Kindness Effect to help users spread, well, kindness!
The filter is promoted by teen author, dancer and actor, Maddie Ziegler. Maddie has been speaking out against online bullying since she started experiencing it and is one of many people that uses Instagram to promote positivity.
If you follow Maddie on Instagram, you’ll get the effect automatically!
In selfie mode, hearts will fill the screen — and you’ll be encouraged to tag a friend you want to support. Your friend will receive a notification that you mentioned them in your story. They can share it to their own story or use the camera effect to spread kindness to someone else.
Switch to the rear camera and you’ll get an overlay of kind comments in many languages! So cute!
What can you do to prevent Cyberbullying?
There’s a lot parents can do besides take away a kid’s phone and make them hate you for life.
First, just talk to your kids about it. They may not even know what cyberbullying looks like! Talk about what it is, why it’s harmful and what to do if you experience it.
Teach your kids how to keep their personal information SAFE! This is “don’t talk to strangers” for the 21st century.
Talk about what kind of photos are inappropriate to post.
Friend your kid on social media…but don’t be THAT mom. Let them know that you’re following them so you can keep an eye on their posts, but for goodness sake, don’t embarrass them with comments. You can set notifications to see what your kid posts–then you won’t have to do the dreaded weekly phone check.*
Remind them that the Internet is FOREVER. Sure, you can delete things off your phone, you can even delete things off your feed…but you can’t delete something that’s screenshot and passed around.
Lastly, just pay attention to your kids. If you see any signs of depression, social media addiction, changes in behavior or irritability, it could be an indication of cyberbullying.
What to do if your kid is Cyber Bullied
Yikes! What can you do if your kid is already being bullied online? First, let them know that it’s NOT THEIR FAULT.
Second, make sure your kid (and hey, you too mom) knows the difference between being bullied and having an argument.
Third, don’t retaliate…otherwise known as “don’t feed the trolls.” Bullies or trolls WANT to make you made to see you blow up. It’s their game, so don’t give into it.
Save the evidence–get a screen shot. If it’s a kid you know, you can take the image to your school or the kid’s parents. Maybe even the police if we’re getting really serious.
*A note on Watching Your kid’s Instagram
Kids can be sneaky. If you’re not well versed in social media, or you’re just new to having a child with a phone, let me share one BONUS TIP. Check their accounts. Yes, plural. Teens have been setting up “finsta” accounts, a second PRIVATE account, ever since Instagram allowed user to have multiple accounts. They might set up one account with their name that’s carefully curated for the public…or mom. Then set up a second under an alias. That 2nd account might be where they feel free to be silly, to hang out with just their friends…or you know. Something worse. Depends on your kid.
Check for secondary accounts by looking at their profile page ON THEIR PHONE, then tap their name up at the top. If they have multiple accounts, Instagram will show a drop down listing all the accounts.