How to Keep Your Kindergartner Safe From Online Bullies

computerYou know that saying "time marches on"? Well I wish it would stop. Now. I have just been informed that cyber-bullying, that scourge of the Internet, has stretched into the kindergarten set.

Kids as young as 6 years old are being bullied online. Six! My kid is 6, and she can't even tie her shoes yet (I know, I know, we are working on it). And now I have to worry about somebody stealing her self-esteem?

Now I know what you're thinking.

You're betting I'm one of those lazy moms who let her 6-year-old set up a Facebook account and doesn't bother to check what her little computer wizard is up to online. You know the type -- they sue computer companies for "addicting" their kids to games instead of taking the gadget out of said kid's hand. Their kids are practically begging to get into some kind of bad situation online, aren't they?

Not my kid. We've had our issues, learned from our mistakes, and that laptop is loaded down with so many locks that the most common complaint from her desk is "It's moving so slooooow." She doesn't Facebook. She doesn't Tweet.

So I'm doing pretty much everything "they" tell you to do. Which is the problem. While we're all focusing on how great we are because we've kept the little ones away from social media, the bullies have found ways around us. 

Here's what you DO need to know: if your kid has a cellphone, it turns out they're more likely to be getting mean messages via text. And if they don't have a cellphone (really, at 6? mine doesn't), the messages are coming through systems like the Nintendo DS (yes, my 6-year-old has one). And then there's FaceTime and iMessaging on their iPod. And it goes on.

They're even saying kids are at risk on the Kindle Fire. We can't even let them read without somebody coming to harass them!

Message for parents? No one's safe. Watch them like a hawk on EVERYTHING.

I know I've heard it loud and clear. How about you?

What kind of bullying has your child encountered?

 

Image via DeclanTM/Flickr

books & media, independence, internet

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Sierr... SierraLynn

I think the real problem here stems from parents giving thier 6 year olds cell phones and ipod touches and kindles. What wrong with the little tablets made specifically for children? No 6 year old needs a damn cell phone an iPad.



What the f**k.

Mrscj... Mrscjones

I'm with Sierra. They have gadgets made for that age group.

MsRkg MsRkg

For me it depends on the maturity level and where your kids are. My son is going into 1st grade in the fall and we live in NYC, so you bet he has a cell phone. It can only dial out/in to immediate family members and trusted adults , no texts or anything like that. For my hubby and I , its a personal comfort knowing we can reach him at any second if we need too. That said, we also rewarded him with an ipod touch for excellent behavior and school work during kindergarten but all functions and apps that can communicate with others and go on the internet to display locations, or play random games with strangers are blocked. I'm a firm believer that you can give kids gadgets and if you're tech savvy enough you can block it and set the preferences to the appropriate age level for the child. I'm all for exposing children to technology in moderation.

nonmember avatar Stephanie

Best way to keep your kindergartener from being bullied online? Don't let them go online! My 5yr old is very smart and mature, even called "gifted" by his teacher, but no matter how smart a child is, I do not believe there is any reason a child his age needs to go on the internet. Bullying problem solved.

Ari. Ari.

I agree with Stephanie. Why does a little one NEED to go online? Thesis on rocket science due?

Barbara Passero

Phew. It's so hard for me to understand why other parents don't see their responsibility in protecting their kids from bullying. In my childhood we had a safe neighborhood, and I had extended family members to help increase my self esteem. Nature was the best teacher and consoler when I was unhappy. Have you heard about the No Child Left Inside programs or the Children and Nature programs? Or the book by Louv called Nature Deprivation? Kids are not meant to be inside all day; when I'm outs at the park or walking around town, I never answer my cell phones. Few understand the loneliness of today's children. That business about quality time that they used to feed us is crazy. I read that some children are so devastated by bullying because they're not secure in their own super busy familities. Some "cruel" parents don't let their kids watch any TV, except some public TV. Works well for them; of course, they started when the children were born and never gave in, although it was very hard sometimes.

butte... butterflyfreak

I'm going to have to go with MsRkg. We are a techie family, and my daughter (who will be 5 in August) has had access to an iPad for about a year and a half and my hubby and I have had smartphones for about 2 months. There has always been a PC in our house, and I have had a laptop for 2 years. My daughter has operated all of these, with parental controls and restrictions. It's quite simple really, and it gives our daughter the freedom to explore technology. As she gets older and learns the importance of online security and what information can not be given out on the internet, then we'll talk about allowing more freedoms.


Really folks, it comes down to being their parent, not their friend, not their prison warden.

nonmember avatar sabrina

"we can't even let them read without somebody comming to harrass them."



Really? Noone has ever harrassed my kids through the "little golden books" they read.

I can't even imagine what a 5 yr old would do online.

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

I honestly didnt read any of the other comments, but I'm sure most of them were along the lines of "Cellphones? Ipads? Kindles?...For a kindergartener to use ALONE? PUH-LEAZ"


And I'd agree with them. My child uses our desktop computer from time to time, but nothing that would allow "other" people to interact with her and vice versa. This shouldnt even BE an issue...come on parents!! Geez..

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