Thursday, 4 September 2014

CYBERBULLYING - How Safe Are Our Kids?

The internet is part of our kids everyday life, more kids are growing up more internet savvy than their parents. Tilly can use an iphone, and i wouldnt know where to start and she is only 4 years old! So with more and more kids using the internet, we have to ask ourselves 'just how am i going to keep my child safe online?' 

Today i took part in an online twitter party organised by Tots100, and Disney clubpenguin and it was good to hear that other parents have the same worries that i do. But it was also great to here how people tackle the internet security in their home. Tilly is four now and she uses my kindle all the time, but luckily she only knows how to use Amazon instant video, Netflix and her apps. She wouldnt know how to use a browser - but i am sure that will change soon!

When kimmy was 13, she was the victim of an internet groomer. She had joined Bebo and she was chatting to a bloke who told her he was 25 and liked having sex with young girls. She never told me this and i only found out as i had her password to monitor her emails (thank god i did)! I went to the police armed with my evidence and they told me there was nothing they could do as he wasnt pretending to be a child, he had admitted to being 25 (but who knows he could of been older!) After this I made sure i checked all of the kids internet accounts at least once a week. These days i find that its more of internet bullying that is a problem, but it isnt just with kids too! i have witnessed many adults bullying others. But did you know 38% of young people have been affected by bullying online, through social networking websites or mobile phones?


Did you know cyberbullying consists of

  • Sharing embarrassing or intimidating images of the victim or claiming to be the victim
  • Stealing someones online identity
  • Verbally and mentally picking on someone
  • Encouraging others to pick on a victim
  • Encouraging a victim to harm themselves
  • Forcing a victim to do something embarrassing over a webcam and sharing it
  • Setting up an online site that incites hate against a victim
  • Picking on someone for the way they live, sexism, racism or homophobia
  • Sending threatening or disturbing messages to a victim
Cyberbullying can cause your child to suffer mentally as well as physically. It can cause depression and anxiety, feeling lonely and sad. They could lose interest in hobbies and you might notice a change in sleep and eating patterns and in extreme cases it could lead to the victim self harming.

What if i find out my child has/is being bullied or is being a bully?
The Bully 

Sometimes children can bully others without realising it, they make some comments to other children and not even know that it is being harmful to them, so although you may be scared or horrified that your child is being bullied or your child is bullying another child, just remember to stay calm and talk to the child rationally

Sit down and explain to your child that it isnt nice to bully another child and ask them how they think the other child felt whilst being bullied - how sad it made the person feel. 

You will need to calmly explain that the behaviour is simply unacceptable and try to be understanding, developing trust with your child. Explain to them how it will be dealt with and that you may talk to the school etc about the situation

Sit down with your child and talk about how things are going to change and how internet security is important and the victim as well as the victim should remain safe online all the time

The Victim

If your child is the victim of bullying you may not even notice to start with as they will hide it from you and be worried, but when they do come to you listen to them and their worries. 

Try and talk to them about the positives of the internet as well as the bullying, Try to ask them what they like seeing online, what they dont like seeing and what would they do if someone was saying harmful or nasty things to them. sometimes a victim will find it hard to talk about and this is a great way for you to pry it out of them without them realising.

Sometimes someone who may be their friend in school may act differently online and be bullying without realising it.

Do not stop your child using the internet as it wont stop the bullying, the bullying will just transfer to the outside world

Try and stay calm, because we all know if someone is harming our child, we want to get angry, confront the parents and possibly lose friendships through the incident. If you keep calm your child is more likely to talk to you.

Where can you go to get advice on cyberbullying?

For more advice on Cyberbullying go to where you will find loads of advice.


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