November 12th 2018 heralds Anti-Bullying Week. Sadly, bullying is still prevalent in our society with children perhaps the most vulnerable. Where once you could at least leave the bullies outside, now their disruptive behaviour can follow you where ever you are, intrude on your life both day and night, and can be spread online to become “viral” with alarming speed.
Cyber Bullying: What You Need To Know
In a survey recently carried out by BullyingUK 56% of young people said they have seen others be bullied online and 42% have felt unsafe online. This form of intimidation can be carried out via smartphones, tablets or computers. Any sites where people interact online such as Facebook, XBox Live, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat can be fun and a positive experience. But what do you do when things go wrong?
BullyingUK has a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know to stay safe yourself and to help to protect your children. We have taken four aspects that we feel are the absolute basics you need to know about cyber-bullying:
Stay Safe: Make sure your passwords contain a combination of letters, lowercase, uppercase, symbols and numbers. Consider logging out of any sites when you’re not actively using them – it only takes a moment for someone to grab your phone off you.
Think Twice: Before you post anything online consider the impact your words may have and think twice before posting - once it’s out there you can’t take it back. If you post abuse about anyone else online or if you send threats, you can be traced by the police.
Talk About It: Parents have a responsibility to ensure that if their children are on any form of online interaction site that they understand what is wrong and what is right. Encouraging your children to talk about social media sites and any interactions they have online will help both of you to spot, and stop, anything that isn't right.
Report It: If you see someone being bullied online, in whatever form, tell someone. We all have a duty to play in “policing” our online networks; you can tell a parent, or a teacher, or call BullyinUK on 0808 800 2222 if you’re in doubt about anything.
Cyber bullying isn’t limited to children – there are some well documented cases of celebrities closing their social media channels due to persistent abusive messages. As adults we have a duty of care to our children, so make sure both you and they know and understand that bullying is unacceptable full stop – and that they know what to do if someone is abusive to them.