Cyberbullying on Google Docs – Keeping Our Kids Safe On The Internet
How kids are using google docs for cyberbullying. With many education practices being held online, students have found ways to cyberbully their classmates using Google Docs. Find out how to keep your child safe on google docs.
Technology is changing and we need to be sure to be up and involved in our kids internet habits to keep them safe online. When children are faced with a technical obstacle such as only being allowed to use school related apps on their computers, they find a way to keep in touch with friends in other ways.
Schools have banned cell phone use and social media apps, websites and blogs with chatrooms on them and have blocked these things with firewalls. Students are smart, and have figured out ways to get around these precautions which schools and parents have put in place to protect them from the online world.
Google docs is a loophole which children are using to collaborate on homework but also chat together and even cyberbulyl each other.
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What Is Google Docs
Google Docs is an app on the google chrome browser which is an online word processing tool, like Microsoft word. Google also has Google Sheets, Google Keep, Google Drive, Google Photos and more in their app drawer. The Google doc app allows real-time updates which means that students can work together on a single document and not miss a thing.
Cyberbullying On Google Docs
Children are finding ways to bully their fellow students using Google docs by creating new documents and sharing it with friends by inviting them to be collaborators.
Different colours are assigned to different names who you can see who is commenting on the document with little avatars. Children can upload photos, links, gifs and memes to the document.
They can chat via the document too. Some students use it as a personal diary which can accidentally get shared with the entire class. Some students can use the Google Doc as a digital burn book (remember mean girls?) to write mean things about other students. You can also “resolve” comments or “trash” a document and there won’t be any record of it ever existing. Scary right?
How To Prevent cyberbullying On Google Docs
Google Docs is used in many schools for finishing assignments and it is nearly impossible to ban the use of the program at home. Creating open and honest dialogs with children can help kids safe while they are using Google docs. If children feel threatened online using school approved programs, they should be talking to you about this. It is important not to over react and ban programs when they come clean and tell you about what is going on online.
If your child has seen something upsetting, let them know to screenshot that thing right away so there is evidence to present when dealing with the situation. Google docs can trash the document and you will never be able to get it back again, but a screenshot can be proof that the bullying happened.
You should also talk to your children about their digital footprint. Everything that your child posts online becomes a part of their digital tattoo which cannot always be completely removed. Online posts can come back to haunt anyone and everyone, so what you post today can hurt you in 5 years. More than half of college admission officers will research the student’s online profile before making a decision on admission. This means a comment your child made on a social media platform can ban them from attending college or university, even though they worked their butt off to get decent grades and would otherwise be accepted.
Emotional Effects of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is a common and significant stressor in a young person’s life. Children who get cyberbullied often feel embarrassed, hurt, humiliated and unsafe. If you notice a change in your child, reach out to a health care provider for support. Your child may experience a wide range of emotions if they have been cyberbullied and can often feel isolated at home and from peers. Friends are critical during the school years and children who have no friends are more likely to get bullied even more.
Children who are cyberbullies can feel powerless and unsafe because cyberbullying is everywhere in their life – phone, computer, tablet, everywhere.
These powerless feelings can lead to anxiety, depression, low self esteem and even self-harm. We love our babies and we want to protect them, so when they hurt themselves, the parents are often crushed as well. If you suspect your child is depressed, seek help right away before that depression leads to suicide.
Cyberbullying is a very serious matter. Kids that are constantly tormented by peers through text messages, instant messaging, social media, and other outlets, and sometimes the only way out that they can see is suicide.
If Your child Is Being Cyberbullied
If your child is being cyberbullied, get help right away. Call or text (877) 352-4497 to access a support team or email Support@BullyingCanada.ca.
BullyingCanada stands by the children who reach out and help them end their bullying problems. They speak with the youth and the parents of the bullied and the bullies as well as guidance councillors, principals teachers and coaches.
It is important to take steps to end the torment if your child is being cyberbullied. This can mean reporting to social media companies, school principals and teachers and even the police. Become familiar with your local laws that surround cyberbullyinh and take this very seriously.
Do not dismiss your child’s feelings and help them feel empowered. Create daily conversations and watch the mood and behaviour that your child is exhibiting. If you notice changes in eating and general behaviour please take your child to a healthcare professional.
A councillor or therapist can help your child, or yourself cope with cyberbullying by creating effective strategies to help you and your child build resilience and get through this torment.