In today's digital era people are more susceptible to being harassed, victimized or otherwise affected by certain individuals through digital means. It is important not only to understand what it is but how is being used against kids. As parents and educators, the need to work together is paramount in stopping Cyberbullying and keeping our kids safe.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is defined as “actions that use information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm another or others”. This can be done through using the Internet and building websites or starting discussion groups that are completely aimed at harming other people. The same can be true through the use of texting or instant messaging as well as using social networking groups such as Facebook or Twitter. What comes from these sources is deliberately meant to put down, control, intimidate, de-face, and discredit individuals that they may or may not even know. It is scary either way! Either it is someone with whom you are direct contact or someone you may even call a friend. Worse still, it could be a stranger that has found you online through any number of media connections and targeted you for the express reason of doing you harm through the same technology. What ever the reason and from whatever the source, parents, students and teachers need to know what they can personally do to stop it or hopefully even prevent it.
Why should we care?
In most cases people tend to think this won’t happen to me. Why bother educating myself or my child on something that doesn’t affect us? The fact is, it can happen to anyone at anytime and without the proper education you won’t know what to do. With a little foresight you may even of been able to prevent it or maybe you or your child is doing it right now but don’t even know it because you don’t truly understand what Cyberbullying is or how the way you are using the digital technology available may be harming another.
Tips for students and parents
1. Don’t engage in or support mean material, gossip, or rumors posted online, or talk about it at school.
2. Be supportive of classmates or friends that are being bullied online by posting positive comments and encouraging words.
3. If you have the proof that someone or yourself is being targeted, make a copy and tell a teacher or a parent.
4. If you know the person that is doing it and you feel safe and comfortable in doing so, confront them and let them know what they are doing is wrong and that it is harming the person(s) involved.
5. Take personal responsibility in what you are posting yourself and really take a look at what you post before you post it.
1. Communicate with your child to help them understand what Cyberbullying is and about Internet safety and the appropriate use of technology.
2. Do onto others as you would have them do to you does not apply to person-to-person communication; it applies to digital space as well.
3. Set family guidelines when it comes to the use of Internet or their cell phones if they have one.
4. Build your communication with your child that gives them the confidence to come to you and report any occurrence they have seen of bullying towards themselves or anyone else.
Here are several website links that can help with general education on Cyberbullying with ways you can begin to help educate yourself, your child or student on how to deal with or prevent these issues.
Activities to help with starting dialogue and educating teens can be found at the Cyberbullying Research Center.cyberbullying.us
Get help if you need it through this site.
To aid in stopping or preventing Cyberbullying.
This is an ABC family movie on dealing with Cyberbullying:
High risk behaviors including dealing with online bullying at Parent Further, a Search institute resource for families:parentfurther.com/high-risk-behaviors