Cyber Bullying- Help and Advice

Cyberbullying

Most adults will tell you that they were bullied during their school years, but they will also tell you that the bullying stopped when they left school. The same cannot be said for the children of today, as the bullies can follow them anyway they go via the internet. If a child is being bullied online they may never feel safe, as the bullies are only a text, or a Facebook message away. With around 91% of children and teenagers owning a mobile phone, and 58% of children admitting that someone has said something nasty to them online, this is becoming a big problem.

There are many forms of cyber bullying and they are all equally as bad as each other. Here are some forms of online bullying that you can talk to your child about.

Threatening messages or phone calls

Pretending to be you online

Posting embarrassing pictures or stories about you

Blackmail

Cyberstalking

Tricking you into revealing personal information

Online exclusion

The earlier we teach our children about the importance of safety online the better, as they should be aware of this before they even start using the internet; this way it becomes second nature to them.

What to Tell Your Children

  • Do Not give out personal information online, even if you think you know who the person is: it may be a stranger or a bully posing as a friend.

  • If you have Facebook or are on any other social networks make your profile private so that only your friends can see it.

  • Never put anything online that you wouldn’t tell your classmates to their faces.

  • If you think you, or someone you know, are being bullied:

Advice for Parents

A sad fact is that only around 2 in 5 children will tell their parents when they are being bullied. The secret to getting your child to open up is to talk about bullying openly from the moment they start school, so they know it is wrong and that adults can help them. Here are a few more tips:

  • Don’t tell your children they are not allowed to have a social media account: they will do it anyway behind your back, and will be less likely to tell you if someone is using it to bully them.

  • Have regular conversations about social media, and ask about any bulling they might have seen, done, or been a victim of.

  • Make your own Facebook profile and befriend your child so you can see their profile. This way, you can keep an eye on the people they connect with, and ask them about any dodgy looking characters.

  • Keep an eye on your child for any changes in behaviour as this may be a sign that they are being bullied. For example, they may:

    • Refuse to go to school

    • Avoid using their computer or mobile phone

    • Become tearful, sad or withdrawn

    • Refuse to talk to you about social media

    • Suffer from a drop in grades.

Some people are under the impression that cyber bullying isn’t as bad as bullying face-to-face. This is wrong: in face it is worse because they can never escape it, and sometimes they do not even know who is sending the mean messages. If you teach your child only one thing about staying safe online let it be that they tell an adult if they think someone is bullying them, and once they have ensure that the school knows so they can do something about it. There is no excuse for bullying, no matter how it is done.


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