Nov 25

Anti-Bullying : Is there cause for concern?

One parent to anotherThe UK’s Anti-Bullying Alliance released some extremely interesting statistics about kids’ thoughts on cyber bullying and what emerged was quite alarming. More than half (55%) of kids surveyed agreed that cyberbullying is part of normal, everyday life and 51% or parents said it makes them worry for their child’s safety.

This simply isn’t good enough. It’s important that we make sure our kids understand that cyberbullying or any type of bullying is not acceptable and we should all work together to eradicate this from life online and offline. I have a son with red hair and I am sure other kids make fun of it in everyday playground teasing, this is of course bullying and if it became extreme I would take action. Does my son think this sort of playground name-calling is bullying? Probably not. But when that playground is the Internet, it’s clear that it would be classed as cyberbullying.

My point here is that there are varying degrees of bullying and while all of them are unacceptable, society, government, teachers and parents need to address the worst cases first so that we no longer hear stories of kids committing suicide, taking anti-depressants or becoming reclusive.

There are many organisations and government sponsored activities to highlight the issue and provide great assistance to families, kids and teachers when the need arises. I support the call by the Anti-Bullying Alliance that online safety and security should be a mandatory curriculum subject. But we need to be realistic, teaching online safety isn’t going to eradicate cyberbullying. Kids naturally tend to push boundaries, often beyond acceptable levels, so it will never disappear completely.

With that in mind we need to better equip parents with the information and knowledge of what to do when there is an issue – and the chapter the book – ‘one parent to another’ – on cyberbullying is a good place to start! Teaching our kids should be a priority but it’s important for parents to build a greater understanding too so that we are tackling the problem in a uniform manner!

Childalert have six copies to give away – please like our facebook page and email [email protected]

About the Author

Tony Anscombe, Online Safety Expert at AVG Technologies and father of a teenage son provides us with an introduction to his book ‘one parent to another’ that launched this week. Tony is giving away 6 copies of his book to Childalert readers, if you are not lucky enough to get a hard copy you can download the full online version here.

The need to keep our kids safe online is always on our mind, and amongst all the scare headlines we often forget that the internet is in fact a great place for our children to learn. With Anti-Bullying week now coming to a close, which I am sure highlighted the need for extra vigilance online for some of you, there is still a lack of clarity over how we as parents can help our kids navigate the online world

We are heading towards a time of year that will see our kids getting new gadgets as gifts and in the excitement of giving or receiving we rarely give a thought to how we should be safeguarding our child on these new shiny toys. The Christmas season brings with it a whole complexity of challenges for us as parents, but how to protect our children online should not and does not need to be one of these!

I launched a book this week on online safety, a how to guide for parents if you like that will hopefully help you navigate your child through any problems he/she might encounter online. I was inspired to write this as I have had so many conversations with parents since joining AVG Technologies as Online Safety Expert that I wanted to offer parents more broadly – some useful awareness and educational advice for protecting their kids online.

As this is my first stab at playing author I am overwhelmed with the reception to the book. Having never written a book like this before, or laid bare my concerns/fears as a father to a teenage boy, I was very nervous about whether people would enjoy the read. But given the great reception so far I guess I can take a breather!

As a parent of a teenager and being involved in many discussions and events about child safety online it was common place to find myself having long discussions with parents on ‘appropriate’ technology use. As I have said to nearly all parents the line in the sand is different for each and every one of us as we all have different expectations of our kids, and differing views on what should be considered reasonable internet usage.

Saying this, there are of course a few hard and fast rules that you should know and hopefully my book is a good place to start guiding you through these!

I hope you enjoy the book and I welcome feedback, thoughts and discussion on the ideas and content.

You can follow me on Twitter as @TonyatAVG and you can find my Google+ profile here

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