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Cyber Bullying Prompts Internet Safety for kids

Cyberbullying has become almost as prevalent as school yard bullying and represents a serious stain on the potential safety of children. When it comes to internet safety for kids, cyber bullying is the second largest threat online.

Cyberbullying has gained a high profile due to a series of cases in schools and workplaces where cyber bullying as caused high levels of stress, anxiety, depression and n sever cases has resulted in suicide.  For this reason ensuring you have an awareness of the problem and a strategy for dealing with it is imperative to protect you children.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying can take many forms and having an awareness of these and the symptoms they my illicit in your children can help you protect against it.

The most common form of cyberbullying is abuse in the form of derogatory messages or comments aimed either directly or indirectly at a particular person. Due to the integrated nature of social networking sites like Facebook a message posted on one person’s wall appears across a wide variety of people’s spaces, meaning it can quickly reach even a non-directly intended recipient. These derogatory or abusive messages are often intended to directly harm their victim emotionally and psychologically and represent the most common form of cyberbullying.

However, this is by no means the only way cyberbullying takes place. Often young people will directly message, Facebook and instant message bullying and derogatory comments. These are often from more than one person and in totality can make people feel alienated and un-liked. There have been a myriad of cases of Facebook “groups” and pages being setup to deliberately malign a particular individual or group of individuals. Two real things make this a particularly bad form of bullying. Firstly, it is hard to police as it is online and secondly, it means that bullies can target individuals at home which should at least be a safe and comforting place.

Whilst social media cyberbulling is the most common form you need also to be aware at bullying can take place in a variety of other ways and rough a variety of other mediums. Most notable of these are chat rooms and online games where users can often face bullying from random groups of other users. This can take a particularly nasty face when it begins to spoil others enjoyment of what should be a fun recreational pursuit.

How to recognise the symptoms

If you think your child may be either being bullied or becoming a bully then you should take action immediately. Firstly by talking to your child and secondly by monitoring their online activity and working out if here is a problem. For school children cyber bullying often occurs alongside physical bullying so watch for changes in behaviour, depression and other tell-tale signs of something amiss. If you think bullying is occurring then there are a number of steps you can take to limit the actions and effects.

What to do?

Knowing how to act can be hard as bullying often involves severe silence on the victim’s part. Overcoming this is the first step you can take in their online safety. Simply talk to your child and try and reassure them that it will pass and that you will do everything you can to help. If the problem is mainly online then reporting to administrators on forums, chartrooms and Facebook provides an easy avenue to deal with these problems initially. Once this has been done monitor the situation and take steps to boast your child’s own confidence. Show them how to block unwanted messages and how to report on bullying directed towards hem.

Hopefully this will end the problems. If the problems persist, you should contact your school authorities and if necessary the police. If you suspect your child may be involved in bullying then you have the responsibility to correct their behaviour by withdrawing privileges and explaining to them reasonably the error of their ways.

Jane writes about internet safety for kids and cyberbullying in order to help raise awareness to parents about the potential dangers of the digital world.

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7 Replies

  1. My wife and I use to monitor our 5 kids facebook accounts for cyber-bullying and other issues. Kids are so cruel to each other and the online world seems to have made it easier to be a bully and make fun of others.

    Its a great service and we would recommend it to every parent.

  2. I have a lot of nephews and nieces that have Facebook. I am afraid that they will become victims of cyberbullying. I hope this will not happen to them.

  3. Jane,
    Great post. Cyberbullying, well bullying in general is inexcusable. With the use of social media etc. options are unlimited for bullies. My sister has teenage son and was telling me with in seconds his buddy spread it all over the internet nasty things re: a girl in the school. It’s terrible, it was bad enough before social media when rumors were spread, but now it’s almost instantaneous. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Niadin H Jun 7th 2011

    I find cyber bullying so sad and unacceptable. My little brother was bullied a lot and when it moved from the playground to online, we didn’t really know how to help him, since there is no “teacher” overseeing the “playground” that is the internet. It was especially bad since my parents knew so little about the social media platforms. It was a big deal, but in order to help my brother, my mom had to learn.

    I definitely recommend the social media training courses at Social Media Education Group

  5. Our school district has a new anti-bullying program that takes bullying very seriously and comes down hard on offenders. Cyberbullying though, is a gray area for schools and they have less influence there. The laws need to catch up with the technology….fast!

  6. Kristy Feb 23rd 2012

    There’s a great social media security program that monitors all online and mobile phone data for you children. It alerts you, the parent, as soon as something like bullying or threatening behavior, drug-related content, etc. is connected to any of your child’s accounts.

    It’s so important to take a preventative approach to bullying and the horrible effects it can have on children.

    Contact me for more details at 1-866-350-4339.

  7. Cyber bullying is the worst. I’m 12 and I have been bullied at school, it sucks. At my old school I was bullied all the time and my teachers did nothing. I went to the principal, the consler, but nothing worked. Sometimes with the bully ignoring dosent work. At one point I had to punch one of them. He never looked me in the eyes again. Parents if you are reading this and your child is getting bullied, this is what you do.
    First go to the teacher, then the consler,then the principal. If nothing works your child might have to take self defense like I did. I can imagine cyber bullying being just as bad.

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