Cyberbullying and You

Bullying was once a challenge faced in person. However, with increased access to the internet, bullying can happen anytime, anywhere, seven days a week. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying in which an individual is targeted and harassed electronically. Harassment can occur via text messages, social media, online forums, video game chat, or anywhere else people interact online. Cyberbullying is just as damaging and harmful as any other form of bullying and has lasting effects on the target, the person engaging in bullying, and bystanders.

Examples of cyber-bullying behaviours include,

  • Aggressive and offensive language via voice chat on online games,
  • Creating a private online group with the purpose of excluding and writing offensive messages about a particular individual,
  • Harassing messages via text message or direct/private messaging on social media portals,
  • Creating and circulating edited photos of an individual with the purpose of ridiculing them, and
  • Sending photos of an individual without their permission.

Here are a few practical steps everyone can take to address the issue.

Tips for Kids

  1. Stop
    Log off the site where the bullying is happening
  2. Block
    Block the person who is targeting you, and report them to the site you’re on. Do not respond to the messages and comment.
  3. Save
    Save the message or comment to show an adult.
  4. Talk
    Tell someone you trust what is happening

Tips for Parents:

  1. Teach respect
    Teaching children to be respectful to others online reduces the instances of cyberbullying and helps them recognize when they witness or are the targets of bullying.
  2. Value your child’s online activity
    To a child, their offline and online activities are one in the same. A child is unlikely to ask for help is a parent isn’t supportive of their online activities.
  3. Include your child in finding a solution
    If a child trusts you enough to tell you they are being cyberbullied, consider yourself very lucky. You may need to involve others in the situation as well, but always keep your child involved.
  4. Listen
    At the end of the day, all children want to be heard.

Tips for Teachers:

  1. Monitor online activity.
    Set up adult controls on devices, restrict access to risky websites, and review history logs.
  2. Prevent
    Talk to students before they share personal information. Make sure all social network profiles are set to private, and any photos added have approval from the caregivers.
  3. Block
    Explain the importance of blocking and reporting online behaviour, especially if someone is continuously being cyberbullied.
  4. Switch it up
    If a certain game or app is becoming notorious for cyberbullying, introduce new/other activities to play that have kinder online communities.

For more information about cyber-bullying, please check out these resources: Cyberbullying Resource