UScellular urges residents to make mobile devices cyberbully free zones
According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, 95% of teens in the United States are online and the vast majority gain access to the internet via mobile devices – making this type of technology one of the main mediums for cyberbullying. To help combat this issue, UScellular is urging people of all ages to commit to making mobile devices “cyberbully-free zones” in conjunction with October being National Bully Prevention Month.
“We pride ourselves on our ability to offer access to the latest mobile devices on a high-quality, nationwide network,” said Nakeita Stewart, director of sales for UScellular in Missouri. “It puts an endless amount of accessibility at people’s fingertips. In turn, we encourage kind and responsible use of this technology.”
UScellular has provided the following steps to consider in making cellphones and tablets cyberbully-free zones.
•Be “In the Know” – Take time to learn about cyberbullying. Sit down with children, tweens and teens and help them understand how cyberbullies use social media, gaming platforms, video-sharing sites, email, text and instant messaging to threaten, harass and humiliate others. Discuss how it can occur 24 hours a day/seven days a week, be done anonymously and even go viral. Work with your children to create an environment that encourages a continued dialogue on this topic.
•Foster Accountability – Agree as a family not to engage in any type of cyberbullying and put the needed safeguards in place to keep kids accountable. UScellular’s website, www.digitalfamilymatters.com, offers a free, personalized Parent-Child Agreement that helps ensure both parents and children see eye-to-eye on how devices are to be used. In addition, there are also several parental control monitoring apps, like Bark, which monitor texts, emails, apps and social media platforms for signs of cyberbullying and other problematic issues.
•Promote Empowerment – Commit individually and as a family to help stop cyberbullies. Many young people have witnessed online bullying but choose not to intervene. However, research suggests nearly 81% of students would be more likely to do so if it could be done anonymously. The Cyberbullying Research Center website shows how to report cyberbullying on a wide range of social media apps, gaming networks, and related companies including Fortnite, Instagram, Facebook and Houseparty. Schools are also working to address this issue by encouraging applications, like STOPit Solutions, that allow students to anonymously submit tips tied to school threats and bullying.