What are the types of online abuse?
Tips for Parents to Prevent Cyberbullying
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is any bullying activity that happens over electronic means, such as cellphones, computers, or tablets.
Traditionally, bullying was often exclusively confined to the educational environment, or by a group of children in the area. Today, however, it is possible for children to be bullied not only at school but also in the family car or at home, alone in their bedroom, and even in clear sight of their parents or guardians without those adults ever being aware.
With today’s communication technology, mobile devices, and social media platforms being so integral to modern living, some young people have very little opportunity to escape the abuse, and many remain in a constant state of stress and anxiety. One in three victims of bullying have committed self-harm as a result, and 1 in 10 has attempted suicide.
Research suggests that up to 7 from 10 young people have experienced online abuse at some point. The term ‘cyberbullying’ is often treated as a distinct phenomenon, but it is an extension of bullying, which is an age-old problem. Bullying taps into social groups that are affected by prejudice and discrimination and often impacts people based on their race, religion, gender identity, and disability.
Signs that my child is facing cyberbullying
It is important for the parent and caregivers to be able to identify if a child is being cyberbullied. Therefore, it is critical to know the signs of someone suffering, so you can give a hand, for example, some of the signs of a child getting cyberbullied are:
- Stop using his digital devices (Mobile phone, Laptops)
- Becomes shy and withdrawn
- Becomes moody and agitates anxiously
- Acts more aggressively
- Hangs out with new friends
One notable case occurred in 2006 involving a girl named Megan Meier. Meier committed suicide after a mother and daughter created a fake MySpace persona and used the account to send Meier hateful comments. Federal prosecutors tried the case and a jury found the mother guilty of one felony count of conspiracy and three misdemeanor counts of unauthorized computer use. Later, judges acquitted the mother of the convictions, according to an ABC News report.
Helping my child when he faces cyberbullying
As a parent you have an important role in preventing and supporting children, to overcome such cyber-bullying acts by:
- Monitoring your child’s digital world and ensuring that the computer is installed with parental control software.
- Teaching your child not to share any personal and private information.
- Teaching your child not to write anything online that they wouldn’t communicate in person.
- Teaching your child not to call people names, or make crude remarks or comments both online and in real life.
- Talking to your child about how to handle cyberbullying. For example, you can tell him: "bullies want you to react, so don’t respond, block the sender, and report to me or to any adult member of our family".
- Teaching your child how to use communication devices and make them aware of their privacy rights.
Cyberbullying is a real issue, that prevalent all around the world, affecting children and adults, Therefore, it’s really important to stand against it.