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Model Real Conversation

Dad and son

Cyberbullying is a real problem today. Many parents would be shocked to read some of the hurtful, mean-spirited texts and posts that are being written by and sent to kids. Many think that since they're not face to face with the person, they can say whatever they want. They don't realize how much damage they're doing.

Unfortunately, cyberbullying is just one of the unintended negative consequences of modern technology - and teenagers are not the only ones affected by it.

With so many people constantly attached to their cell phones, iPads, laptops and other devices, there's little time for real conversations where people actually talk to each other face to face. In fact, conversation skills are falling by the wayside as people depend more and more on impersonal electronic contact with others. When this begins to negatively affect the relationship between a parent and child or a child and other children, it's time for a change.

A good parenting tip for you to help facilitate this change is to put down your phone, put away your electronics and talk with your kids about what's going on in their lives. Ask them about their day, go for a walk, be active! Re-connect in ways that show them they are valued and loved. Role model for your children the importance of communicating with others on a personal, human level - and how to go about doing that. This is the only way any of us can develop healthy relationships and reach our full potential. It may not stop things like cyberbullying, but it can help you head off problems before they become disastrous. 

Make sure your kids are staying safe online. Teach your kids that a "social community" that exists only through words on a screen isn't really a community at all.