We had a nice interview with Child Health and Disease Specialist Dr. Ayşe Sokullu about cyber bulling in children’s world.
‘On the social media any information is very widely spread and therefore may seriously affect the psychology of children molested by using the e-mail group of the whole school for example.’
What is exactly bullying and what has changed after the technology?
Physical molestation of children to each other at school, a group of children gibing with the name of a certain child or mocking him with strange voices or gestures can be called bulling. After the technology, we now have cyber bullying. The children started to misbehave by means of the social media. They use bad words for other children, expose the secret of a certain child on the social media or share defamatory statements. They are the examples cyber bulling. Any information on the social media is very widely spread and therefore seriously affect the psychology of children molested by using the e-mail group of the whole school for example. Such incidents effect all children but, lead to important problems especially among the teen-agers. Among children at puberty, we meet cases of depression or getting some bad habits.
What should be the age for children to use the social media?
Children should not use the social media before they are 12-13 years old. Consequently, we can advise the same age for smart phones as well. Although it will be very difficult these days, but if we are considering to buy a cell phone for our children, this should not be smartest one. Because a smart phone has a direct link to the internet. We also must control the internet at home by passwords and parent filters.
What type of difficulties does the difference between the virtual and actual personality of a child create?
This issue is rather like a super hero movie. They have an environment where they can become any personality they want. For example, in social media, by using a completely different photograph they can change themselves to different persons. Social media creates a lot of expectations for them. There is a continuous essence for sharing the things that we have lived and experienced. People prefer to share these experiences instead of enjoying them. With a little effort any child can design and show himself totally different. Sometimes their virtual social media personality replaces their own personality and thus, they suffer many disappointments when they are alone. They do not care for others, create their own prototype and try to follow that personality. Because they believe that the other virtual characters created by others are also real. They emulate and envy these fake characters. For example, the slim looking girls prototyped in these virtual environments may directly affect young girls at their teen ages. Therefore, we have to prepare our children to realize what is virtual and what is real in these environments. By the impact of the social media, children start to perceive that going to school and communicating with their teacher is completely a different package. Changing jobs every two years is a common reality of Millennial’s. This is caused by the loss of sense of dependence and I think that the social media has an important effect on this issue.
How can we protect our children against the damages of the social media?
The social media opens a lot of doors to exploiters and child molesters. They can act as if they are their close friends. They share their photos and spread them all over the internet. We all have to be very careful on this matter. We have to control our children very closely and watch their behaviors with our friendly approaches instead of questioning identities. If you ask questions like, what are you doing or what are you watching to teen-agers, they immediately change the screen whenever they see you. If you share and tell them about your day, they tell theirs as well. By means of such friendly conversations you can learn some certain issues and still you can continue to be your child’s close friend.
Thank you very much.
You can watch video interview about ‘Cyber Bullying and Children’ with Child Health and Disease Specialist Dr. Ayse Sokullu below in Turkish.