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Saturday, November 26, 2022

SEVEN WAYS TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM CYBERBULLYING

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  1. Awareness and education. Parents, teachers, counsellors, and caregivers must understand the dangers posed by the Internet. These include; cyberbullying, pornography, stalking, and recruitment into radicalization and terrorist groups. You need to understand some of the dangers and what exactly they are, how you and your family can be endangered and ways of counteracting various attacks. This includes for instance what constitutes cyberbullying, how and when it occurs, and how you and your children can be a victim. Then, talk to your child about it, including ways to prevent possible attacks such as visiting only credible sites and having a strong email password. As a parent or guardian, you need to obtain additional information on privacy and parental control settings about Internet and media accounts.
  2. Conversation with child and within a family. It is never early or too late to talk about safety and security including online safety. Conversation with the family should happen often and should broaden to include access to Internet sites and television. This enables the child to understand that they are vulnerable when they are under attack and for you to identify the attacks (and even the culprit, the attackers, both high and low risk attackers). This also enables the child to navigate the online world (computers, phones, television, and other technologies) with caution and at the same time with ease and avoid possible attacks and other risks.
  3. Set up privacy controls. A private setting helps you, the child, and family to take effective control over who gets your information (private and confidential) as well who it is shared with. There are several private controls including having a strong password and logging out (rather than leaving the system on endlessly). This restricts people who can see you or the child and thus only important people such as parent, teachers, trusted friends can see and interact with them online. Strong unique passwords are a simple and effective way of protecting computers, phones, television, or the Internet from would-be intruders. Guide the child to safeguard his/her passwords and other information. This includes learning simple things such as not to post pictures and other important information (personal details, family) about themselves and family on social media, to the class or school.
  4. Parental and teacher guidelines. Teachers and parents should offer the child guidelines about the appropriate use of the Internet. Of course, this arises from number one above regarding your own understanding of computers and the Internet. This includes sending and sharing emails and photos online. This is because bullies and stalkers tend to use photos and pictures sent by children and teenagers to blackmail and force them into certain unbecoming situations. They also use the photos to embarrass them by displaying them online. A major guideline and a rule of thumb as a parent or guardian is being careful (restrictive) with certain family photos and events that can be endangering to you, your family, or the child.
  5. Rules for use of the Internet and sharing information. A major way to understand the Internet including social media is to learn the use of the Internet as well as simple rules for sharing information with others, including family, relatives, friends, business, and others. Assist your children to learn basic rules of sharing information, for example, the emails and other addresses, and passwords. Confidential friends and family information should not be shared. Also, let the child understand the content and context of sharing information such as class and school information with the class, school, and teachers. Ensure the child understands what is personal information such as name, age, parent’s name, school, and who to share their information with. Above all, they must be careful on how they use it, and who they share with online.
  6. Inclusion and exclusion. A basic rule in life is to identify who is a part of you, and who is apart from you. Let children learn more about themselves, family, class, and school. This way, they internalize who is a part of them, and who to stay away from. This includes telling them to avoid sharing messages, texts, and emails with strangers. This is because the texts could be endearing to the person. Besides, certain emails sent into their inboxes could contain viruses that could infect and eventually damage their phones or computers. The same goes for messages from bullies, paedophiles, stalkers and other criminals who could target them.
  7. Googling themselves. Once in a while, it is important to search your name on various search engines. This enables you to find out any information or photos that come up. If there is something that can be used by bad people such as cyberbullies to target you, your family, or your child, you can take appropriate action. You can even have it flagged and promptly removed.
  8. Logging on and off and use of public computers. A major hazard in the use of the Internet is the use of public computers. This is a major hazard especially when you log on and forget to log out! This in turn makes the person susceptible to others who easily gain access to their accounts. Teach the child to log out of accounts, especially on shared accounts in cyber cafes and the computer room in the school. Teachers and teacher assistants should ensure that all the children log out before they leave. This reduces the chances of anyone impersonating them and sharing the information with others. Also, by steadily logging in, the person stands the chance of bullies, stalkers, and others obtaining and changing the password and in turn looking at other accounts of their families, classmates, and other critical information without their consent.

Emerging technologies are used in banking and finance sectors including communication and international airports and now to control borders and migration. Artificial intelligence and data analysis machines including use of biometrics markers such as facial and iris recognition will store and retrieve profiles and assist in analysing personal and organisational data. All these will fundamentally transform many aspects of our lives including communication management such as ticket and visa applications and transit interface. However, the Internet and technological advancement have also proven to be challenging in certain ways, especially in regard to the menace posed by cybercriminals, cyberbullying, and albeit in certain ways the negative effects of social media platforms. This is because the Internet provides criminals with an outright advantage to invade our homes and privacy with anonymity, greater intensity, and using controlled resources in their own terms. This in turn provides a breeding ground for criminals to coordinate, plan and integrate various criminal activities including terrorist attacks. The World is now again on the move after the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and with greater acceptance of digital and intuitive technologies. As we regain the pre-pandemonic momentum, we should be careful albeit with adequate risk precautions including the use of integrated biometrical pathways to support health and security measures. This requires new kind of approaches to life and the Internet that shifts imagination from the periphery to the foundation of information and knowledge.

Destiny Destined, Watch your Steps …

The media reinforces the idea that we are more globalized with eased communication through several networks. However, social media takes place via the Internet, messaging, games, mobile phones, television, and other platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Telegram. The Internet and social media are therefore a major target for those who would like to scare, anger, embarrass, frustrate and shame others. This takes several forms including spreading false information, embarrassing photos, threats, and sending hurtful messages via messaging and other platforms. Subsequently, we must protect the ourselves, the child, and family. In this digital balance, you must consider both the safety and security of your child, as well as the quantity and quality of information they obtain from the Internet. This includes the amount of time they spend on online, television, mobile phone, and other devices. There are also safety features that you can set up at home and in schools and some of these gadgets limits on certain applications, as well as daily onscreen time.

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Dr. Geoffrey Wangohttps://counsel-lingmagazine.co.ke/
Many people often ask me about my personal stand, my passion in life and how I got into Counselling Psychology and why in particular the establishment and writing in their favourite publication, The Counsel-ling Magazine. Colleagues and students, participants in various seminars and others suggested that I should include some information that would assist clients, practitioners and students to perhaps establish a career, or even assess and evaluate their ethical, moral and professional standards. Well, this allows for personal reflection and I feel it wise to include a few remarks about my fervour on counselling, mentoring and education as well as various aspects of life.
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