Social Media Profiles: Why Parents Having One Can Help Stop Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying through social media profiles is becoming more and more of a problem with each passing year – especially within the United States.

One report confirms that at least one million children were threatened, harassed, or subjected to other types of cyberbullying in 2011 on Facebook alone. Those figures have only increased over the past three years.

Many parents assume that social media profiles are primarily designed for their children, and choose not to get involved with them. Quite a few others who have become huge fans of social media profiles personally do not pay close enough attention to their children’s accounts – primarily when it comes to their interactions with other people.

According to the American Osteopathic Association, only one in six parents are aware that their child is being bullied through a social networking website. However, by having a profile and actively keeping watch over the conversations and interactions that a child is having, his or her parent can detect signs of cyberbullying and other predatory attacks in their early stages.

A skeptical and reluctant parent might choose to stay away from their child’s profile in fear of invading their privacy. Keep in mind that you do not have to continuously monitor your child’s social media account as if you were staring a surveillance security camera – waiting for a criminal to appear.

Pay close attention to such areas as the comments on their pictures as well as the messages posted by other people on their walls and Twitter feeds.

Statistics show that over 80 percent of teenagers spend a considerable amount of time commenting on their friends’ pictures and on their walls.

Keep in mind that just because a person might be listed as an online friend does not mean that they are necessarily friendly online.

There is a dark side to social media profiles that many parents do not fully understand, simply because they either do not have a social media profile at all or do not want to actively stay connected to their child’s profile.

For instance, 24 percent of teenagers have had embarrassing information that was supposed to be kept private made public on Facebook without their permission. Nearly 30 percent have been contacted by an absolute stranger or even stalked through their Facebook profile. A statistic that is even more alarming is the fact that well over 50 percent of teenagers have given out their personal information to people that they do not know through Facebook – including access to their pictures and physical descriptions.

Parents should not view taking an active role to stay connected to their children’s social media profiles as a way to invade their privacy or create a wedge in their relationship. On the contrary, it should be viewed as an effective way to stop cyberbullying and possibly save their life.

[Image Credit: WGBH News]