Tips for Parents: Awareness on Cyberbullying



Perceived as a problem that only affects adolescents, cyberbullying has taken its toll in the lives of kids. As children become tech-reliant, there’s an increasing potential for them to be victimized online. According to Common Sense Media, children aged 7-8 years old are more likely to experience online mischief, especially when they visit sites where they can interact with other users.

Cyberbullying comes in different forms: flaming (intense argument), exclusion (singled out), masquerading (creating fake identities to harass), and outing (revealing private information to the public). As parents, the key here is to prevent this online mischief from targeting your kids. As your child matures, it’s best to instill good habits to prevent against future cyber predators.

Smartphone Security

According to, the latest wave of bullying incidents emanated from too much mobile phone usage. Since most of them are engaged in social networking sites, they can participate in chat sessions where they are oppressed by people who upload photos and videos with malicious content. To prevent this from happening, you should start with the basics:

·         Finding the right mobile phone

The key to finding the right gizmo is to purchase one with a built-in security feature. A perfect example would be the Samsung Galaxy S4. The device is equipped with Samsung’s KNOX Solutions Security. It’s an Android-based solution engineered to set parameters on the open source nature of the platform.

·         Installing Parental Controls

Using this software is ideal as they act on your behalf in supervising your kid’s activities by preventing access to malicious websites. In most cases, there’s no need to keep this a secret to your kids. Prevention becomes more successful when there’s a trust between you and your child.

Know your Child’s Friends

According to Parent Further, staying involved in your kid’s network gives a positive influence. It is advisable to impose a set of rules when they go out or stay over at a friend’s house for school project. Moreover, it is imperative to have an open communication with them. After arriving from school, you can talk about how his day went, what he learned, and what’s going on with his friends. It is also essential to develop a dynamic relationship with the teachers as well. During Parents-Teachers meetings, you can ask for your child’s evaluation sheet and discuss how he behaves with his peers.

Enroll your Kid to a Reputable Institution

Since most cases of bullying happen in schools, you need to evaluate the culture of the school where you plan to send your child. This includes the chance to assess whether the classrooms and the learning facilities are conducive for learning. It is important to take some time visiting the school to get a first hand experience of the place. Make sure that the institution is running an anti-bullying program to guarantee your kid’s safety. Aside from these, consider the caring environment offered by teachers and administrators. According to, the relationship of a teacher and a child is far more important than the curriculum.

Watch Out for Signs

According to Parenting Expert Michele Borba, the best way to prevent cyber predators is to recognize warning signs. On that note, here are some signs you need to observe:

·         Bad behavior

According to Monica Vila of, children tend to misbehave when some people are making their lives “miserable.”

·         Social withdrawal

It happens when there’s a tremendous change in your kid’s online activities and engagements.

·         Fear of technology

Instead of spending time online, your child diverts his attention towards other activities. Also, it’s when he suffers from occasional anxiety attacks each time a text message pops up.

Widely spread, we cannot stop cyberbullying from happening. However, we can help our child veer away from possible ways that could lead to this scenario and mold them in a way that they won’t let this interfere with their development in school and as an individual.

Do you have other tips you want to share with other readers? Leave a comment below.




The Gamification of Apps


APpsApps are rapidly turning into games. Obviously, apps that are already games aren’t what we’re talking about, here – instead, it’s apps that are designed without gaming in mind that are being influenced by games and their ability to incentivize the way we engage with them. These days, you’re just as likely to level up in a social check-in app as you are in an RPG – and that’s fantastic.

It has however been suggested that this may be the wrong approach – that so many apps are gamififying their mechanics to the point where it’s impossible to find a social iPhone app that works straightforwardly, rather than constantly awards you badges and experience points. While these incentives do reward users, apps should retain some level of purity, and as Ingrid Lunden states, this approach means that “many of the apps using the technique are becoming noise themselves.”

It’s true – play a session of Angry Birds and all the mechanics fit because you’re playing a game. But if you then start to find star ratings and unlocks inside your banking app, it’s not unlikely that the app will not be as efficient or fully-featured as it could be because the incentives have begun to replace the actual features.

Foursquare is definitely a service that worked very well and had a noticeable presence when it first launched, but these days it’s easy to feel that someone’s a bit odd when they’re still auto-tweeting the fact they’ve become Mayor of their local Starbucks in 2013. The reason for this is that while the app had medals and various accomplishments, it was essentially built around its gamification mechanics and offered little else – there was no real need to have a service to tell people where you were unless you were really keen on helping burglars.

The ideal approach to gamification would be to appreciate why you might need it, as if you have to give people badges and experience points to use your app, it might be worth considering that the app by itself lacks incentives for extended or regular use. Perhaps the best approach for all of these gamified apps appearing on the marketplace would be for us to only opt for those what would be great to start with, rather than ones where we’re paying for an app, just for mechanics that exist in a thousand other ones.

Gartner, the information technology research and advisory firm, recently published a report stating that gamified apps are going to fail 80% of the time if your reason for involving game mechanics in your software is purely due to novelty and hype. If all of those badges and points have no real meaning or use, then you’re just adding noise to a quiet room. These are wise words, and it’s definitely something to consider as a consumer – if you’re paying for apps, try and opt for the ones where gamification is used intelligently and really rewards you – don’t be fooled by shiny stickers.