“Children are like little sponges. They learn from their environment, and parents are in their environment,” said Therapist Julie Fleagle of Kids Compass Counseling Services.
A recent study done by officials at the University of California suggested that some parents may be unintentionally playing a role in their child’s online activities.
“When children observe their parents interacting with other adults in a mean or bullying kind of way. They think its okay,” stated Fleagle.
Experts said that children can start reacting to parent’s behavior as early as the age of two and, from there, the negative behavior will continue to follow them as they grow.
“Teaching children how to express their feelings at a young age – learning about empathy, how to appropriately problem solve at a young age – all of those skills will make a child more resistant to cyber bullying later on,” said Fleagle.
Although monitoring your child’s behavior online may seem like the ideal thing to do, officials say a traditional one-on-one talk may be the best place to start.
“If you have a really good relationship with your child, meaning you have open communication and you listen in a non-judgmental way, as the child gets older, you’re going to be able to approach your child and say ‘What’s going on? I noticed that your online activity is becoming unhealthy,’” said Fleagle.
For tips on how to deal with your child’s online behavior, please visit www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying.