Cyberbullying: What is it?
Cyberbullying is bullying that happens through the use of any digital devices, like a smartphone or laptop. It can happen through texts, social media or any online forum where people can view, participate or share information. Cyberbullying includes sharing false, negative, harmful or personal information about someone else. Most often, cyberbullying occurs between people who know each other.
It’s important to note that cyberbullying is an experience that spills on to and off of online activity; so, more often than not, kids who are being bullied online are also being bullied in class or at home.
How can cyberbullying be stopped?
It’s vital to help children understand what they can do if they witness cyberbullying, and, importantly when they can safely try to intervene. For example, there are a few questions encourage kids to ask themselves before they act to make sure the situation is appropriate:
1) Do I know the whole story?
2) Am I helping overall or just helping my friends?
3) Am I making excuses for what is happening?
4) Will saying something make things better or worse?
5) Am I making it easier for others to stand up too?
Knowing when to act is an important part in being an active witness.
As a parent, how can I be sure my kids are being safe online?
When it comes to online precautions, there are a lot of tips and rules you can put in place to monitor your kids’ online use. However, there is a boundary when it comes to how intrusive you can be. Use simple rules. An example: parents knowing their kids’ passwords, but committing to using them only in case a serious situation. Also, be sure to know what kind of social media children are using, and follow them, for the first while, to make sure the content they are posting is appropriate. Monitoring screen time is vital to protect against cyberbullying. Set time or time of day or day restrictions and stick to it. Finally, set ground rules so that both you and your children understand what are appropriate uses of the internet and how to speak to others online.