Cyberbullying is where someone targets you online or by phone and is nasty to the extent that it hurts you. Cyberbullying doesn't just happen to kids, but it is probably scarier when it happens to our kids because we just want to protect them and save them from any harm or hurt that they might come across. There are many different ways that someone can bully a victim online, these include
Below are some tips for parents who suspect their child is being bullied
- Someone sending you threatening or abusive text messags
- Creating and sharing embarrassing images or videos that you don't want to be shared.
- 'Trolling' - the sending of menacing or upsetting messages on social networks, chat rooms or online games, you often see this a lot in adult chat rooms and groups.
- Being excluded from online games, activities or friendship groups
- Setting up hate sites or groups about a particular person
- Encouraging people to self-harm, These have been highlighted a lot in the news over recent years
- Voting for or against someone in an abusive poll
- Creating fake accounts, hijacking or stealing online identities to embarrass a young person or cause trouble using their name, This is easily done and it's scary how easy it is to pretend to be someone else.
- Sending explicit messages, also known as sexting
- Pressuring children into sending sexual images or engaging in sexual conversations. This is also grooming and can lead to further worries.
Kids used to be able to escape bullying at the end of the day when they went home. But these days parents let their kids use social media at such a young age. Like I have said before, I even have let Tilly have Instagram, but I have the passwords and there is no way she is getting into the account without my knowledge. Especially when you get men sending private messages to her asking if they want to hook up and that they are in love with her. I kindly tell the men that she is only 8 years old and that they shouldn't be talking to her. They soon disappear from her account!
You can't see the bullying on social media if it's done on a platform that you don't use. Kids will keep secrets and even if they tell their friends, you know the friends are going to keep it secret too. Bullies hide their bullying by setting up fake accounts too, this shows that they are cowards because they are too scared to even be associated with bullying and it shows that they know its wrong and that they shouldn't be doing it. From the age of 10 years old, a child can be held responsible for their own actions, so if it is seen in the eyes of the law then we need to realise that our children do know what they are doing when it comes to bullying other children.
Online bullying doesn't just happen to children, it happens to adults too. I have been a victim of online bullying and had a few people (or one person on several occasions) comment nasty comments on my blog. The funny thing is that they do it anonymously so that you can't trace them - but there is always a way to trace online bullies. You see images of people that are not perfect and someone makes a nasty Meme about them. Just because someone has a medical affliction or something makes them different to you and us, shouldn't make them a victim. At least as adults, we can just use the block button or the mute button, so make sure your child knows about these buttons too.
Sadly the way of the world is that you get bullied if you're different or you go against the grain. But it shouldn't be that way and we need to educate our kids to be kind to other people, no matter how different they are from us. People get bullied if they are timid and don't fight back, they are seen as an easy target but bullies soon get bored of those victims. They like the ones that fight back! The ones that get emotional and upset, because they know that their tactics are working.
If you have a child that is being bullied, you can seek advice from NSPCC, they have helped over 12,000 children last year to talk about online bullying issues. Make sure your child knows there is always someone to talk to if they can't talk to you.
- Talk to them about what bullying is, and ask if they're being bullied.
- If the child reveals they are being bullied reassure them it's not their fault and that they are loved and valued.
- If they don't want to talk about it, suggest they contact Childline, in confidence, for advice and support on 0800 1111.
- Help them find things to do that make them feel good like listening to music or playing a sport. Give them opportunities to help build their confidence.
- Cyberbullying? Teach them how to stay safe online by blocking and reporting the bully when using smartphones, tablets and consoles. Online safety advice can be found on the NSPCC website.
- Remember, all schools have a responsibility to protect their pupils from bullying both in and out school so speak to the staff. If the bullying is taking place at a club, talk to the person in charge.