Cyberbullying: a definition
Cyberbullying is when the use of cell phones and other electronic devices, with apps such as instant messaging, e-mail, chat rooms or social networking sites, are used intentionally and repeatedly to do harm. Examples of this are to harass, reject, isolate, exclude, threaten or intimidate someone intentionally and repeatedly.
In terms of bullying, cyberbullying is still an infant compared to traditional bullying. It does not mean that it is less severe than other forms, or less painful. One aspect of cyberbullying that distinguishes it clearly from other forms of bullying is that bullies can utilize it anywhere and any time. It goes beyond the boundaries of time and space.
With so many people considering the use of electronic devices as a critical part of their social life, cyberbullying became more and more prevalent in the last decade. Victims of cyberbullying are affected severely, because what happens on these social media platforms affect their lives in a real way.
What can a caregiver do?
As a parent, teacher or a person caring for children or other vulnerable people, you can do a number of things to reduce or prevent cyberbullying, such as:
- Be in the know – Do your research. If you are not aware of the newest ways to perform cyberbullying, then you will be unable to detect it. Set aside an hour or so per week to educate yourself on the latest techniques bullies use.
- Supervise – We get it. We are all busy, and we are all stretched for time. But without supervision, we expose our children to countless platforms where bullies can reach them.
- Discussions – Talk about cyberbullying to raise awareness, and educate children and other vulnerable people about it, will show them the psychological and legal ramifications of cyberbullying.
- Create digital citizens – It is important that children know that the same rules apply in and out of the digital world, writes LearnersEdge. Just like you can teach rules in non-digital interaction, you can also teach responsible use online.
This list is not all you can do there are many more actions, however this article is just for a quick overview. We will add more information to our question and answers section.
What can a victim of cyberbullying do?
- Follow our golden rule: See something, say something. Talk to a trusted adult or friend. A friend can give you support, and might assist you in reporting it an adult that can help.
- Switch off devices. Walk away from the source of the bullying. When the bully is not getting the reaction he craves, the frequency and intensity may reduce.
- Do not retaliate. Retaliation makes things worse. Sometimes, you cannot distinguish the bully from the victim because of retaliation.
- Save or print out messages. You may need these later if the bullying continues and you need to provide proof of the bullying.
- Block the bully. Most social platforms have ways to prevent someone from contacting you. Make use of them.
Remember, we are always here to listen and help. Send us a message, someone will get back to you as soon as possible.