What can we do about Cyberbullying?

What can we do about Cyberbullying?

What can we do about Cyberbullying?

Since the dawn of time, there have been bullies. People whose sole purpose in life is to hurt and humiliate others. But the Internet has opened us up to a whole new realm of bullying.

Cyber bullies are children or adults who harass others online. Gone are the days it seems when the class bully would hang around on the stairs at school or on the way home waiting for his or her next target. Now it seems they can be found on Facebook or other social networks.

*Young people are found to be twice as likely to be bullied on Facebook as any other social networking site. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Under UK legislation there is not a specific law which makes cyberbullying illegal. Although it could be a criminal offence under legislation such as the Protection from Harassment Act and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act

Types of Cyberbullying can include memes, photos, swearing, spreading rumours or posting as your child using fake profiles. Sometimes you may know exactly who your harasser is, but most cyber bullies hide behind aliases.

As Parents, we need to talk openly to our children and teenagers about the pitfalls of the online world and encourage our kids to talk with us about problems they may have with online harassment.

Keep an eye on the following as they could be signs that all is not well with your child.

Is secretive or avoids talking about what they’re doing online or talking too.

Not wanting to go to school or take part in their usual activities with unexplained physical symptoms such as stomach upsets or headaches. *20% of children and young people indicate fear of cyber bullies made them reluctant to go to school.

They may stop using their electronic devices suddenly or unexpectedly.

Losing weight or changing how they look to try and fit in. Becoming sad, withdrawn, angry, or lashing out. *5% reported self-harm.

Or seeming nervous and jumpy when using devices, or obsessive about being constantly online.

Cyberbullying is just like regular bullying. They are doing it to get a reaction from your child, and If you can convince your child to ignore the bullies chances are they will just get bored and give up. But getting to this point can be a complicated and lengthy process.

Finally, if the person bullying your child goes to his or her school, for your childís safety, seek the advice of a teacher or Headteacher. Bullying, no matter whether it is traditional style or cyber bullying, causes emotional and psychological distress. In fact, just like any other victim of bullying, cyberbullied kids experience anxiety, fear, depression and low self-esteem.

What can you do to support your child?

Reinforce that no one deserves this treatment, they have done nothing wrong and that they know that there is help available to them.

Encourage them to talk to a teacher that they trust, so they feel they have somewhere safe at school to go to.

Encourage them to also talk to their parents/carers, and if this isn’t possible, perhaps write a letter or speak to other family members.

Take screen shots and save all emails of the cyber bullying so that you have proof this is happening.

Always report all abuse to the relevant social media networks by clicking on the “report abuse” buttons.

Keep a diary, so they have somewhere safe and private to write down their innermost thoughts and feelings which will help to avoid feelings getting bottling up.

Give praise for being so brave and talking things through which will hopefully empower them to take responsibility and get help.

Sending abuse by email or posting it on a website can be harassment and if this has happened, make a complaint to the police who can trace IP addresses, etc.

Ask the school if they have a School Liaison Police Officer that can help in this situation and talk to the school about the dangers and effects.

The Internet gives the illusion of anonymity, and many think they write and say whatever they want. But this is not true at all. Most try to hide behind aliases for a reason. Remember never feed the troll, and if you’re unsure a good rule of thumb would be, never type something that would make you uncomfortable, or perhaps you would never say in person face to face.

Further reading and guidance can be found hereHelping children to be safe online” and “Are Kids Safe Online

*Ref: Beat Bullying Virtual Violence II report commissioned by Nominet Trust http://archive.beatbullying.org/dox/media-centre/news-archive/Feb%202012/Virtual-Violence-II-The-Real-Impact-Of-Cyberbullying.html