Secure your family and friends from online Grinch’s stalking and bullying!

Did you know that Jingle Bells was the first song played in outer space by the crew of NASA’s Gemini 6A space flight in 1965? Picture, if you will, a group of astronauts jamming out to the jolly jingle while floating through the stars in their miniature version of a one-horse open sleigh.

But more than music, myths, and of course, presents, the holiday season is about looking out for your loved ones. And since we live and breathe in the digital era, what better way is to look out for them than to ensure their safety in the digital world. 

According to the Federal Department of Communications, one in five children aged 8 to 17 experiences cyberbullying. And since holidays create more time and opportunities, online harassment–involving stalking, catfishing, and cyberbullying experiences are at an all-time high. 

So, to ensure the online security of your friends and family this holiday season, reveal the “S” on your chest and do what’s right.

Reporting and Reacting To Online Harassment

The first step is to be aware of the common triggers of cyberbullying. By having healthy conversations surrounding your child’s online activities, look out for signs of:

  1. Exclusion from groups and friend circles.
  2. Online trolling through abuse, provocations, and insults. 
  3. Trickery is used for garnering your loved one’s trust to misuse it. 
  4. Public humiliation through non-consensual content. 

Don’t ruin your festive season by retaliating in anger if any of the above shows up on your radar. Do this instead: 

  1. Take screenshots or recordings as evidence of the harassment. 
  2. Please report it to your child/teen’s school or employer. 
  3. If it doesn’t stop there, contact law enforcement through local cybercrime portals.
  4. Talk to your child/teen, ensuring their mental health and well-being. 
  5. Don’t hesitate to reach out to mental health services if need be. 
  6. Use the “Report” feature, available on most online platforms or websites, to inform them that their terms of use are being violated. 
  7. Block the bully to avoid further damage. 
  8. If necessary, temporarily deactivate the source of bullying (social media account) or change your contact information. 
  9. Above all, rationalize. 

The Takeaway

In 1965, when astronauts were stepping it up to Jingle Bells in space, who would’ve thought we’d have this wonderful thing called social media. It’s such a marvellous combined space where regardless of creed, race, language, location, or gender, we can unitedly celebrate the festive season. 

Unfortunately, the digital world, too, has pitfalls, with online harassment being one of them. However, just like you should never worry about the size of your Christmas tree or the presents underneath it, with the pointers above you can avoid fretting over online trolls too.

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