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Did You Know?
Bullying is not something that only happens in the real world any more. In the past, bullying may have occurred at school, in the playground or at a youth club, now it can happen on mobile phones, over email, in chat-rooms, on social networks and other websites. Cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Cyberbullying is when one or more people try to tease, harass, threaten or embarrass another person using technology such as mobile phones or the Internet.
Children and young people can fall victim to cyberbullying, but they can also become the bully, or be drawn into cyberbullying without even realising it.
Even though cyberbullying cannot physically hurt someone – the effects can be devastating. Due to its 24/7 nature, escaping from it can be hard and victims can be left feeling very isolated, lonely, distressed, scared and vulnerable.
- Talk to your child about responsible online behaviour
- Remind them that once a message is sent or a comment is posted online you cannot take it back.
- Let them know that if something bothers them, makes them feel upset, sad or scared they can talk to you about it.
Cyberbullying - A headteachers perspective
Sue Croft is the Head Teacher of Cleaves School in Surrey. Here she talks about her experience of cyberbullying and why parents need to know about it.
There are many organisations and useful websites that can help with cyberbullying situations or concerns:
Anti-bullying Alliance gives advice to parents including on the signs of bullying and how to respond to it appropriately. www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk
Beatbullying is a bullying prevention charity which works with families, schools, and communities to understand the problem, campaign for change and provide a sustainable efficient and proven solution. www.beatbullying.org
Bullying UK is charity gives information and advice to young people and their parents through its website and email service. It also works with schools, youth organisations, police forces and health trusts and runs workshops. www.bullying.co.uk
Childnet International is a non-profit organisation working with others to help make the Internet a great and safe place for children and young people. Their website holds a wealth of resources. www.childnet-int.org
Cybersmile is founded by parents of children directly affected by cyberbullying, this non-profit organisation provides support to those that are bullied online and changes the behaviour of the bullies themselves, through education. www.cybersmile.org
Direct Gov offers information and advice for parents and children and young people on cyberbullying.
Common Sense Media has published the following Stay-Safe tips for children and young people who are victim to cyberbullying. There is additional advice on its website.
- Sign off the computer. It's best to ignore attacks and walk away from the cyberbully.
- Don't respond or retaliate. If you're angry and reply, then you might say nasty things. Cyberbullies often just want to get a reaction out of you, so don't let them know that their plan has worked.
- Block the bully. If you get mean messages through IM or a social networking site, take the person off your buddy or friends list. You can also delete messages from bullies without reading them.
- Save and print out bullying messages. If the harassment continues, save the evidence. This could be important proof to show parents or teachers if the bullying doesn't stop.
- Talk to a friend. When someone makes you feel bad, sometimes it can help to talk the situation over with a friend.
- Tell a trusted adult. A trusted adult is someone you believe will listen and who has the skills, desire, and authority to help you. Telling someone who fits that descriptions what's going on isn't tattling -- it's standing up for yourself. And even if the bullying occurs at home, your school probably has rules against it.
Video: Let's Fight it Together
This film, produced by Childnet highlights the different ways that Cyberbullying can happen and the consequences for the target. This is a great video for parents to share with their children.
You can learn more about how to protect your child online through watching our internet safety awareness video.