Cyber Harassment

Protecting Minors from Cyber Harassment

While the Internet might seem like a peaceful library of knowledge and fun to an adult, especially to one with a trained eye, to your kids it can be full of unseen dangers. Cyber harassment is just as real as harassment away from the keyboard. Cyber harassment is, simply put, an online form of normal harassment. If a person repeatedly pushed themselves on you, stalked you, or bullied you online, then you would be a victim of cyber harassment. The purpose of this article is to provide the tools you need to protect your young ones from likely dangers. Below are some tips and tricks to protect minors from cyber harassment. 

Monitoring Software

Software such as Norton Family allows minors free access of the Internet, with the exception of blocked websites that could potentially be harmful, while also letting you know exactly what sites they visited. An alternative to using a monitoring software is to solicit help from friends and family; for example, you can get a friend to monitor your kids’ social media profiles for any signs of harassment.  

Parental Controls

If simply monitoring does not help, enacting parental controls on a minor can be a more heavy-handed but effective method. Norton Family can also do this, but many browsers have parental control features built in. If not, plug-ins like WebFilter Pro and Blocksi, which allow website filtering and blocking, are also an option. 

Talk to them

One of the best ways to prevent minors from being cyber harassed or bullied is to talk to them about the dangers of the Internet. It is also very important that they inform you if there is harassment going on. 

Know how to stop it

Blocking all access to the harassment source is just one of the many ways to stop active harassment. If harassment does occur, make sure to keep all evidence and report it to the appropriate authority on the matter, be it the minor's school or the police.
 
For more in-depth information on the subject, visit the government source: https://kids.usa.gov/parents/online-safety/cyberbullying/index.shtml
 
Luke Tadlock
IT Pathway, Robert Turner College and Career Highschool
Intern at Cyber Security Institute, University of Houston-Clear Lake