As the internet has grown and people have become better able to connect with others than ever before, many parents are finding that they need social media monitoring services to make sure that their teens are staying safe online. According to a study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and Harvard’s Berkman Center, a staggering 94% of teenagers use Facebook, which is just one of the many sites that are commonly used. While social media can be great for a number of reasons, it opens the door for cyberbullying, a serious problem for today’s teens.
Cyberbullying is defined by dosomething.org as “a young person tormenting, threatening, harassing, or embarrassing another young person using the Internet or other technologies, like cell phones.” While it might seem like a minor problem at first glance, the results of cyberbullying can be tragic, and there are dozens of stories of kids harming themselves or taking their own lives after they were teased and ridiculed online. In order to prevent that, even those parents who trust their kids should invest in social media monitoring services that can send alerts when kids are being bullied and help parents step in to help.
Though some might think that internet monitoring tools enable “spying,” and kids will certainly say that, using them might be the only way for parents to protect their teens from bullying. Some 70% of students report seeing online bullying frequently, but just one out of every 10 kids will tell their parents or another adult when they are abused online. Kids like to keep their information private, so the onus of protecting teens falls on the parents. Installing social media monitoring software is the best way to do that.
Part of the reason that cyberbullying is so problematic is the fact that such a high number teens participate. Three quarters say that they have visited a website that bashes another student and 81% believe that bullying online is easier to get away with than in person. In reality, the anonymous nature of some sites means that consequences aren’t always a sure thing, so the best defense teens have is social media monitoring services, even if they don’t like them.
The statistics regarding cyberbullying are quite troubling and one of the realities facing parents today. Stopping teens from using social media completely would be difficult, and might even be unfair. But parents who want the best for their kids should think about using monitoring programs and tools. Without them, it can be impossible to know if cyber bullies are having a negative influence on teens.