We had Barbara and Eoin in from Ashbourne Garda Station to speak to our 5th classes about cyber bullyng. They spoke to the children about the danger of using anonymous apps in particular and how harmful they can be to other children.
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using technology. Whether on social media sites, through a mobile phone, or gaming sites, the effects can be devastating for the young person involved. Parents need to be aware that most children have been involved in cyberbullying in some way, either as a victim, perpetrator, or bystander. By its very nature, cyberbullying tends to involve a number of online bystanders and can quickly spiral out of control.
Children and young people who bully others online do not need to be physically stronger and their methods can often be hidden and subtle. Young people routinely access social media and much of their social lives are online. This can create a false sense of security; for example chatting online feels different from chatting face to face. It can be easier to say and reveal things that wouldn’t be said face to face; be cruel, aggressive or flirtatious. It is important for young people to remember that there are offline consequences to online behaviour. We also know that increasingly younger children are signing up to social network sites and may not have the maturity to handle their online identity in a safe and responsible way.
Parents have a challenging job. You need to know what your children are doing online and also help them to do it in a safe way. Asking their child simply not to use technology is not a realistic way to prevent or react to cyberbullying The following are some things that parents may wish to consider teaching their children about using the internet safely:
• Make sure you use the privacy settings.
• Always respect others – be careful what you say online.
• Be careful what pictures or videos you upload. Once a picture is shared online it cannot be taken back.
• Only add people you know and trust to friends/followers lists online. When talking to strangers, keep your personal information safe and location hidden.
• Treat your password like your toothbrush – keep it to yourself and change it regularly.
• Block the bully – learn how to block or report someone who is behaving badly.
• Do not retaliate or reply to offending e-mails, text messages or online conversations.
• Save the evidence. Always keep a copy of offending e-mails, text messages or a screen grab of online conversations and pass to a parent, a carer or a teacher.
• Make sure you tell an adult you trust, for example, a parent, a carer, a teacher.
• Most social media services and other sites have a button you can click on to report bullying. Doing this can prevent a bully from targeting you and others in the future. Many services take bullying seriously and will either warn the individual or eliminate his or her account.The following are some useful sites for parents to seek advice – The Parent Zone, Thinkuknow, Young Minds, Get Connected.