CyberBullying and How to Deal With It
CyberBullying and How to Deal With It
Children today are growing up in a world very different to their parents. Technology allows them access to information, games and communication we only dreamt of when we were younger, and while this has huge advantages, it also comes with risks.
One of the most common concerns raised to me as E-safety coordinator at Bell Farm Primary School is Cyberbullying.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using technology. This could be through a mobile device (tablet, mobile phone), social networking site or a gaming sites.
When we were younger, any problems with bullying usually ended at the school gates. If people wanted to talk to us at home, they had to call our land lines and usually get through a parent first. Now, the traditional ‘safe’ personal spaces are intruded upon by the multitude of devices in our homes, and children are accessible 24 hours a day. For victims of cyberbullying, it can feel like there is no escape.
Did you know?
21% of 8 to 11 year olds have been deliberately targeted, threatened or humiliated by an individual or group through the use of mobile phone or the internet.
Beatbullying, Virtual Violence II.
Cyberbullying can often be made worse because the audience can be greatly increased. Children may ‘like’ nasty comments or re-post messages, pictures or videos. They can also hide behind the mask of anonymity which can greatly increase the fear and distress of the victim.
Could my child be a cyberbully?
Nobody wants to think that their child is capable of bullying. However for most children, the online world is not seen in the same way as the ‘real’ world. To some of them, there are different boundaries, and many will say and do things online they would never dare do or say to someone’s face in reality.
“As hard as it can be to admit, it is also possible that your child is or has been a bully. They could have set up or joined a malicious profile or ‘liked’ a mean comment they have seen about someone online. They could be acting in this way due to peer pressure or in retaliation for something that has happened to them. When talking to your child about bullying it is important to let them know how you as a family feel about the act. Talk to them about how it makes others feel and the consequences of their actions.”
You can watch a helpful short video about cyberbulling by clicking here.
How much do you really know about your child’s online activity?
- Do you know which sites your child visits regularly?
- Do you know who they talk to?
- Do you know what all the icons on your child’s smart technology are for?
- Do you know the age requirements of the site? (Most are 13 or above)
- Do you know what the sites do and allow? (photos/ video/ instant messaging)
- Do you know how to set up parental controls on all the devices in your house?
- Do you know how to block and report inappropriate content?
- Is your child’s account linked to your email so that you can monitor what they are doing online?
- Do you have your internet set to turn off at a certain point to stop children accessing things late at night without your knowledge or permission?
It is important that if, as a parent, you decide to allow your children to use online gaming or social media sites, that you familiarise yourself thoroughly with the sites, understand how to use them and know what risks they may represent.
Make sure that you are checking on what your child is receiving but also sending. Remember, sometimes our children behave in ways online they would never dream of behaving in the real world.
Did you know?
The average child now has access to seven different ways to get online.
Phones, tablets, smart TVs, laptops, PCs, most e-readers, and games consoles can all allow children onto the internet.
Have you set up parental controls on all of them?
The thinkuknow website is a fantastic resource for parents and children, giving a range of advice, videos and games about online safety. Linked to the CEOP branch of the police, it offers great ways to start talking to your child about being safe online.
The advice below is taken from their website, www.thinkuknow.co.uk
Offer reassurance and support.
Your child may be in need of emotional support or feel like they have nowhere to turn. It is rare that cyberbullying is only taking place online and is often someone your child knows
through school or a group they attend. Their school should have policies and procedures for dealing with cyberbullying.
Your child could visit Cybermentors. This is an online counselling service with a difference; the counsellors are also children and young people. This site has proved very popular and offers practical advice www.cybermentors.org.uk
Tell your child that if they are being bullied to always keep the evidence.
Whether it’s a text message or email, tell them not to reply to the bully or delete the comments. Ask your child if they know the bully or where the messages are coming from. Often it is someone within the school environment and can be dealt with quickly and effectively with assistance from the school.
Block the bullies
If someone is bullying your child on a social networking or chat site encourage them to block or delete the individual so that they can’t be contacted by them anymore.
Report any bullying content to the website it’s hosted on.
If content has been posted, for example a video or image, which is upsetting your child you should report it to the website, for example, Facebook. Learn how you would report content on sites like Facebook and YouTube; every site is different. Contacting the website is the only way to get the offensive content removed, unless it is illegal. In cases of illegal content for example indecent images or videos of young people under 18, contact your local police or report it to www.clickceop.police.uk.
For further help and guidance on all the information mentioned please visit
Please remember, there are many wonderful things about the internet and we do not wish to discourage our children from using it. Technology is a part of their world.
Together we can educate them to navigate it safely.
Assistant Headteacher, Bell Farm Primary School
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