The Role of Parental Monitoring Apps in Prevention of Cyberbullying

Oct 1, 2018 by

Bullying is not only a schoolyard problem anymore, because nowadays, it mostly occurs in our digital spaces. Cyberbullying is significantly a lot more dangerous than the traditional face-to-face bullying. And regardless of what you have read or heard, bullying is not a problem confined only to the youth. With everyone having an access to the internet and personal devices, bullying has become equally prevalent online, too. Harassment and cyberbullying have gained a lot of attention over the past few years. Cyberbullying may not be an exponentially growing issue but ask the people who have been inflicted by it experience the worst kind of mental anguish which, in most cases, encourage them to resort to self-harm.

Owing to the countless studies and researches, people now have more knowledge about bullying and know the right measures. This increased awareness is the reason why parental monitoring apps have gained so much popularity in just a small period. The problem is not with the technology but rather how we are using it. Young people spend a lot of their time online and during that time, they interact with friends, acquaintances, and strangers through different websites, apps or gaming lobbies. This unnecessary or unwanted interaction is sometimes the reason why a person gets bullied.

According to numerous experts, both bullying and cyberbullying are targeted and repeated forms of serious aggression among school-aged children. In case of cyberbullying, the repetition is less personal but equally damaging and hurtful. Bullying and its digital counterpart, cyberbullying, involve a perceived or real power imbalance that is physical, psychological and/or social. Even though cyberbullying occurs online, it mostly impacts our offline lives, too.

Cyberbullying – What makes it unique?

It’s hard for parents, teachers, etc. to detect cyberbullying as it takes place in the abysmal aggrandizement of the online world. And it occurs anonymously. Because of that, more often than not, the victim does not even know who is behind it. This makes it easier for a child to harass and bully another without getting caught or held accountable. Anonymity is the biggest factor in cyberbullying that allows the bully to carry out their activities from behind the screen. Victims believe that more people are witnesses to the whole account and this doubles the hurt and trauma of the ordeal. As online socializing occurs 24/7, there is no escaping this pit once you get in.

Another thing that attracts bullies towards the cyber channel is that, through the internet, they can reach a larger audience. The information sharing process is quick and easy that makes it difficult to control the flow of negative messages. Then, there is the physical distance. The bully is out of reach of the victim and therefore, cannot get an immediate response.

There are various types of cyberbullying and some of the most common ones are:

Harassment: There is not much difference between harassment and bullying. Harassment is a form of discrimination. Discrimination means to treat someone poorly because of some characteristics or differences such as race, ethnicity, religion, disability, family status, or even sexual orientation.

Outing: This happens, when a bully gets hands on your personal or private information including embarrassing pictures or videos and then uploads it on the internet making it viral.

Exclusion: As the name suggests, the act of leaving someone or singling someone out from online communities such as chat groups or forums.

Masquerading: In this form of cyberbullying, the bully impersonates to harass someone anonymously. They take up someone’s identity for the sake of harassing only.

Flaming: Flaming is also a kind of public bullying that involves using harsh language or sending disturbing images to a certain person through any electronic means, like messages, emails, social media, etc.

What do studies and statistics tell us?

A number of studies indicate that social media has become the popular means of cyberbullying while other formats such as text messaging and emails are still in use. 1 in 3 internet users is a teen or tween. They have wider and almost constant access to the internet (if parents are not using parental monitoring apps) than any generation before them increasing chances of them getting bullied.

Some of the recent stats convey how much cyberbullying has grown.

According to the CyberbullyingResearch Center, 20.1% reported having affected by online rumors. And over 7% of middle school and high school students had a mean webpage created about them. In a Telenor survey of adults and parents across Asia, 79% reported that either their child or a friend’s child was threatened with physical harm when they were playing online games. The American Journal of Public Health reports that cyberbullying mostly occurs through text messages or Facebook.

Past statistics and data reveal how long it has taken cyberbullying to make it to its present position and why is it still a concern today. Cyberbullying is not restricted to mean text messages or insulting comments but is possibly linked to suicide in some ways. About 80% of youth who took their lives were depressed. Compared to traditional bullying, cyberbullying leads to more suicidal and self-harming thoughts according to JAMA Pediatrics.

A website working against cyberbullying NoBullying.com reported that more than half of the teenage population who use social media have witnessed cyberbullying. More than 50% of the teens admitted that they kept cyberbullying a secret from their parents. In 2016, the site recorded more than 9.3 million visits from the people seeking help with online safety, bullying, and cyberbullying.

Another website, DoSomething.org reported that 43% of kids suffered at the hands of bullying. Almost 25% were victimized more than once. Nine out of 10 teens who were bullied on social media reported that they chose to ignore it. 84% of teens said that they had witnessed others trying to stop the cyberbullies.

It is hard to generalize cyberbullying as every cyberbullying case is as individual as the people involved. But, young people with special needs, who stand out, or ethnic, religious, and racial minorities are more vulnerable. Children between the ages of 5 to 16 spend six and a half hours in front of screens—be it their laptops or smartphones. This has doubled from three hours recorded in 1995.

The Warning Signs:

If you have reason to believe that your child might be getting harassed, body-shamed or bullied online, watch out for these warning signs:

Do they get nervous or look troubled after receiving a text message? Are they secretive about their online activities? It is also possible that your child, who is normally glued to their smartphones has suddenly stopped using their device. It is essential that parents should be tech-savvy so that they can know what’s going on in their children’s lives. Also, talk to your children about cyberbullying and if there is anything they would like to share.

What can parents do?

If a child spends seven hours at school and then spends an additional 6.5 hours in front of a screen, this gives bullies more time to make their move. And as stated above most of the kids avoid talking to their parents about it, thinking it’s their problem which they ought to solve on their own.

How can parents protect their children when mostly they are unaware of what is happening to their children? The key is safe Internet use. There are plenty of apps to prevent cyberbullying. Along with that, activating privacy settings on the apps or devices can lessen the risk of a child getting bullied. Teach your children that they shouldn’t give out their personal information, like photos, address, phone numbers, and email address to strangers on the internet. Using efficient parental control software and parental monitoring apps are one of the most effective means to monitor your child’s digital activities like their emails, social media, text messages, and calls. Parents can see what their children receive on their phones online and offline. And in case someone is bullying them, they can block certain contacts and intervene lest the situation gets out of hands.

How can Parental Monitoring Apps help with Cyberbullying?

There are plenty of options to choose from but Xnspy parental monitoring app, designed particularly for parental monitoring, serves the purpose excellently. With the help of this app, you can monitor your child’s phone activity, see their messages, monitor their calls, web browsing history, and emails. Once the app is installed on your child’s phone, it begins to pick information from the phone and uploads it your app’s online account.

Xnspy can play an important role and serve the purpose of an app to prevent cyberbullying.  

Here is how having a parental monitoring app on your child’s phone help you with cyberbullying:

Social Media Monitoring:

Everyone has access to social media nowadays which enables the bullies to conduct cyberbullying at a massive level. They approach both teens and tweens and post mean and discouraging comments on their posts, body-shame them and make fun of them. With Xnspy or other reliable parental monitoring app, parents can monitor their child’s social media accounts. They can see if a bully is teasing or harassing their child via messages or pictures and then help their child in fighting it.

Email Tracking:

You can read the emails your child receives on his email account. In case the bully is sending harassing messages and content via emails, it can help you in getting to the bully. It is not always necessary that your child is getting bullied. Sometimes, they can be the bully too. Xnspy comes with a keylogger feature so you can see the keystrokes and closely observe what your child does online if you are suspicious of their online behavior.

Monitor Messages:

Sending text messages or messages via instant messaging apps is the favorite means of communication nowadays. With Xnspy parental monitoring app, parents can monitor the kind of messages their children receive and send. They can keep an eye on the text messages, voice messages, and multimedia messages. Xnspy monitors a variety of apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Kik, Skype, Instagram, and Viber. You can access complete messages details along with the date and time stamp. If your child is getting threatening messages, you can get to the bully with this information. The app also allows you to read deleted messages.

Call Tracking:

Xnspy also allows you to record, track, and listen to both incoming and outgoing phone calls. The calls are automatically recorded and uploaded to your online web account. You can listen to these calls remotely. With the ambient recording feature, you can record the surrounding sounds, too. This might be helpful in reaching the bully. You can also block certain contacts so that they cannot contact your child. Moreover, you can add certain words in the Watchlist and whenever that word comes up in the messages or chats, you will get an alert. This greatly helps if your child is hiding the cyberbullying problem.

Last Words:

After you have established the rules regarding parental access to your children’s phones, educate them about the dangers that lurk the digital world and that there are some rules. Remind them about the importance of these guidelines and why is it important to follow them. Let them know that it’s all for their own safety—you monitoring their online activity.

If your child is getting bullied, let them know that bullies want nothing but to tease and disturb their target. The best thing is to ignore them and not pay any attention. However, constant bullying can become very disturbing and traumatic for your child. As a parent, you can take the right action. With parental monitoring app like XNSPY, you can make a timely intervention. Make sure that not only you know what is going on in your child’s life, but they also tell you everything. You have to tell your child that, no matter what, they can come to you for anything and share everything with you.

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