I’ve always thought of our home as a refuge for our kids. A place where they could come at the end of the day to unwind, feel loved, and most of all, feel safe. And for the most part it still is. But as my kids get older, social media tags right along through the front door.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, video gaming and messaging apps are one of the primary ways preteens and teens interact with their peers. And is it just me or does it seem like the wild west? There are no real rules for engagement. Sure, you see plenty of positive interactions, but how do you navigate all the negative ones with your kids when your home is no longer providing a break from it all.
My friend had one of those terrible experiences with her daughter in high school. Her oldest was unrelentingly bullied on her phone by kids from her school for starting a friendship with a boy that one of them had previously dated. My friend did everything she could to stop it. She worked with the school’s administration and helped her daughter block, unfriend, and remove the known offenders. Then there were new accounts and users her daughter didn’t recognize sending her death threats. Her daughter was so traumatized, she had to seek counseling for her.
They ultimately opted to complete her senior year from home. This prolonged life-changing ordeal resulted not only in tremendous stress for their family, but also in lost days from work and some unplanned expenses for a single mom on a fixed income.
Thankfully, my kids have not had such a traumatic experience. But a new Pew Research study reveals daunting statistics: 59% of U.S. teens have experienced some form of abusive online behavior related to cyberbullying.
Our world and our homes have changed. The way we interact and do life has changed. Here at Northern Neck Insurance, we recognize these challenges for Virginia families. More and more, folks are seeing the need to protect their families from cyberbullying and other online threats, like identity theft, cyber extortion and ransomware, fraud, and big data breaches. And cyber security is becoming commonplace as we look for ways to take more offensive measures.
We want to help you protect your Virginia family in this connected world. For more information on financial protection from cyber threats, contact your local independent agent. For tips and resources on how to prevent cyber bullying, visit Stopbullying.gov. To learn how to prevent cyber crime against your family, go to the National Cyber Security Alliance.