Cyberbullying may have been identified as a problem that needs to be confronted, but it still hasn’t been able to have the same cringe effect on parents and educators as traditional bullying. This may probably be one of the reasons why many parents continue to remain unaware of the entire scope of the threat, including misuse of their teens’ password by a cyberbully. Failing to recognize the threat leads them to skip the importance of password protection while lecturing kids on online safety. This can deter their efforts to find an effective solution to how to stop cyber bullying from affecting their kids.
The multifaceted threat arising from password safety lapse
Social media has become an integral part of teen culture in today’s digital age. It serves as a major channel for their communications and interactions. While they may consider their social media accounts a blessing, it can transform into a curse if compromised. The issue is of significant importance when a solution to how to prevent cyber bullying is being sought. Failure to keep their passwords protected from snoops can leave them susceptible to three forms of cyberbullying, namely impersonation, outing and trickery. Impersonation involves someone, even a friend, stealing the identity of the victim to send or post material that can put their safety, relationships and reputation at risk. Outing, on the other hand, involves the perpetrator gaining unsolicited access into the victim’s account and thus their personal information, including their secrets. This information is then made public with the sole intention of subjecting the victim to humiliation. Tricky involves the perpetrator stealing the identity of the victim and then exploiting the trust between them and their friends to learn secrets or embarrassing information. This information is then treated in the same manner as in outing, with pretty much the same intention.
Who the teens need to watch out for
Teens find themselves in a rather dangerous territory as far as the security of their private accounts is concerned. There are a number of potential perpetrators who can misuse their password and consequently deal them a severe emotional and psychological blow. Teens may think that it’s fine to share their password with their close friends. However, by doing this, they only make themselves more susceptible to the danger of cyberbullying, as the friendship may not last forever. Many kids, even strangers, may misuse the unsolicited access to someone’s account just for entertainment, deriving pleasure out of the victim’s embarrassment. Sometimes, teens may have their accounts targeted by rivals who take competition to an unhealthy level. Bullies, however, remain the biggest threat, as getting into their target’s account gives them countless opportunities to harass them.
Measures for prevention and damage control
Teens can face severe consequences upon having their personal accounts compromised and misused. Parents need to teach kids about online safety and the importance of keeping passwords safe, even from friends, and changing passwords upon suspecting fishy activity on their account. They also need to encourage kids to report cyberbullying situation to them immediately without fear of losing Internet or cell phone privileges. It is also important that parents teach their teens to refrain from fighting fire with fire, as it can cause cyberbullying to escalate and quite possibly lead to real-world aggression and violence.
While the difference in perception of the problems is understandable, it is not appreciated by someone professionals. They consider cyberbullying to be a much greater threat than its real-world counterpart as it’s capable of following the victim home, and getting out of control. Furthermore, it’s generally public, thus intensify the hurt it inflicts. Since the kids’ failure to protect their password can contribute to the issue, it’s imperative that parents leach their young ones the importance of protecting their online accounts from snoops.