As technology advances and the benefits of using it envelopes our lives more and more, so it follows that there will be those who will look to use it for other reasons. Cyber bullying is a particularly cruel and threatening form of intimidating someone. Most prevalent amongst, but not unique to, teenagers cyber bullying allows the aggressor access into the inner sanctums of the victim – their house or bedroom, giving the impression that there’s literally nowhere to hide.
Some facts about cyber bullying
- Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. 1 in 4 has had it happen more than once.
- 70% of students report seeing frequent bullying online. Filling up your friends’ Facebook feeds with positive posts instead of negative ones can boost school-wide morale. Start a Facebook page for students to submit positive acts they see in school to promote a culture of positivity on and offline. Sign up for Positivity Page.
- Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying.
- 68% of teens agree that cyber bullying is a serious problem.
- 81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person.
- 90% of teens who have seen social-media bullying say they have ignored it. 84% have seen others tell cyber bullies to stop.
- Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse.
- Girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying.
- About 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 out 10 say it has happened more than once.
- Bullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide.
- About 75% of students admit they have visited a website bashing another student.
Schools and colleges are particularly aware of bullying and most will now have policies in place to deal with the problem. However there are a few things that you can do if you suspect that your child may be the victim of a bully
- Make sure your child is aware of cyber bullying.
- Be aware of your child’s internet activity.
- Try to understand the technology and communication networks your child uses.
- Ask your child to show you any nasty messages he or she receives.
- Tell your child never to respond to an abusive text message – what the cyber bully most wants is a reply.
- Talk to staff at your child’s school if other pupils at the school are involved.
Conversely it might be that as a parent you suspect that your child could indeed be the perpetrator. This form of bullying doesn’t rely on physicality alone and so could be an option for those who might normally have no option of affecting another individual. It’s therefore important that the steps above are considered for all children in an attempt to address the problem at source. The anonymity of cyber bullying can also lead to teachers suffering as a result of bullying online and through threatening messages.
However difficult it may be for the victim of bullying or those knowing of someone who is being victimised, but silence is not an option if this to be addressed. Whilst not suggesting that anyone, not least children, should be thrust into the role of vigilante, victims and those in the know should talk and share their experiences in a show of unity against the bully. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”