Young people are being bullied online right now. Understanding what to do about it can help stop the harm it causes.
This blog is about online bullying affecting people under the age of 18.
In today's connected world, your child is constantly surrounded by social media and smartphones. While you may be prepared to protect your child from the potential dangers that lurk online, children of all ages are vulnerable to bullying as they use the web.
Opportunities for bullying spring up through instant messaging, chat rooms, and social networking sites like Snapchat, Instagram etc. If your child is bullied by someone she met through a chat room or gaming site, she may not even know who the bully is and may be reluctant to tell you about a problem for fear of having the computer taken away.
What does cyberbullying look like?
- Abusive texts and emails
- Hurtful messages, images or videos
- Imitating others online
- Excluding others online
- Humiliating others online
- Spreading nasty online gossip and chat
- Creating fake accounts to trick someone or humiliate them
How common is it?
- 1 in 5 Australian young people reported being socially excluded, threatened or abused online
- 55% sought help from their parents, 28% from their friends; 38% blocked the offending social media account; 12% reported it to the website or platform
- 1 in 5 Australian young people (15% of kids, 24% of teens) admitted behaving in a negative way to a peer online — such as calling them names, deliberately excluding them, or spreading lies or rumours. Of these, more than 90% had had a negative online experience themselves.
Here are some signs that your child may be dealing with a cyberbully:
- Stops using the computer without explanation
- Appears nervous or jumpy when getting an instant message or email
- Uneasy about going out or going to school
- A decline in their school work
- Appears angry or depressed after using the computer
- Becoming secretive about their online activities and mobile phone use
- Abnormally withdrawn from friends and family
- Changes in their sleep pattern
What can you do?
The most critical step to keeping your child’s web time bully-free is to make sure your family computer and tablet are in a safe place, along with your child's phone (if she has one). This is very important, drop into King IT today and we'll ensure all your devices are protected and safe.
Here are some other simple ways to keep your child safe:
- Let your child know you’re paying attention to her web usage. Keep the family computer somewhere out in the open. Absolutely keep webcams out of your child’s bedroom.
- Talk to your child about the websites she visits. Keep a log of the websites, usernames, and passwords she uses (if applicable).
- Set up permissions on tablets and smartphones so your child cannot download any app without your password. Make sure to discuss best practices for each app that is downloaded.
- Make sure your child doesn’t give out any personal information in chat rooms, on social networking sites, or on personal web pages.
- Use parental controls to block websites and apps that aren’t kid-friendly. Set up firewalls to block viruses.
- Tell your child to delete emails and close instant-message boxes from people she doesn’t know. If the person continues to email or message, help your child block the account.
- Follow your child on social media sites and speak to her if any posts are inappropriate.
If you think your kids are being cyberbullied, drop into the store today, we'd love to help.
There are also helplines in Australia, visit here.