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Cyber-bullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. With the advent of Social Media, many kids who are bullied online feel completely ashamed and publicly humiliated and can’t see a way past the embarrassment. They don’t have the skills to handle it and don’t know where to seek help. Schools and parents need to prioritise our children’s safety and well-being online.

Children are often motivated by anger, revenge or frustration. Many do it for fun or to get a reaction. Some do it by accident, and either send a message to the wrong recipient or didn’t think before they did something. The power-hungry do it to torment others and for their ego.

How To Minimise The Risk Of Your Child Being Cyberbullied( For parents)

  • Communicate: Let your children know they can confide in you, that nothing is off-limits and that you won’t overreact. Then they will be more likely to open up to you about a problem.
  • Understand Their World: Establishing relationships with your child’s teachers or year group mentors is another way to keep your ear to the ground. When a child’s behaviour and activity level changes, it could be an indicator that all is not well.
  • Weave Cyber Safety Into Your Family Dialogue: Teach your kids never to share passwords, never to give out identifying information of any kind online, never to respond to online trolls or bullies. Then they will definitely add a layer of armour to shield them from becoming a victim of cyberbullying.
  • Limit Screen Time: Make sure their phone/tablet is out of easy reach at night.Less time online = less risk.There are lot of free tools and applications online that have parental control features to limit children’s screen time and controls what contents they are allowed to view.Insist on knowing your child’s passwords and learn the common acronyms kids use online and in text messages.

How to Prevent Cyber-bullying( For Children)

  • Never share information online if it could be used against you. Cyber-bullies often use pictures, status updates, and personal information they find online to harass their targets. It’s fine to share a little information about yourself online, but never reveal something you don’t want the whole world to know.
  • Don’t take an explicit photo of yourself to send to someone else, and never let someone else take an explicit photo of you.
  • Personal information sent through private emails, texts and instant messages could land in the hands of a cyber-bully. Try not to discuss embarrassing or deeply personal information online. Even if you’re only telling a friend, you never know how the information might get out. It’s best to discuss serious matters in person.
  • Don’t participate in cyber-bullying behavior. Even if all of your friends are doing it, cyber-bullying is still wrong. People choosing to go along with the crowd in cases of cyber-bullying is what makes these types of attacks so effective and damaging. Your behavior can influence other people’s actions; make it clear that you don’t stand for cyber-bullying by setting a good example for others.
  • If your friends start teasing someone online or via text, don’t participate. Ask them to stop, and let them know that cyber-bullying has the same dangerous consequences as in-person bullying does.
  • Don’t take photos or video of someone else without their knowledge and permission.Even if you take photos or video of someone with their permission, don’t distribute them unless the person agrees to it.
  • Never distribute photos or videos that could be considered explicit, humiliating or could somehow be used against them
  • Help New Internet Users: Everyone was an Internet “newbie” at one time.  Many children and teen users that gain access to social networking sites, electronic devices, or the Internet for the first time are unaware about how dangerous these devices can be if abused or used inappropriately. Although it is normal to be excited about connecting with all of your friends and classmates online, please be mindful of the fact that there are others on the Internet that abuse their privileges.
  • You’ve been told “don’t talk to strangers.” People you meet on the Internet are strangers. Other than friends you know in “real life,” people online are not classified as friends.
  • Never agree to meet an online friend in person. If someone asks to meet you, talk to your parents about it.
  • Do not lie about your age so you can go somewhere on the Internet that is for adults only.
  • Passwords must be kept secret from everyone but your parents.
  • Do not spend excessive time on the computer. You should partake in other activities, exercise, and set aside time for leisure.
  • Something you see on the Internet might make you uncomfortable or confused. Tell your teacher or parent right away.
  • If you are upset or angry about something, do not use the Internet to vent your feelings. Go to a friend, a relative, or teacher you are comfortable talking to instead.

References:

The National KE-CIRT/CC advisory on Cyberbullying
http://www.ke-cirt.go.ke/index.php/stop-cyberbullying/
McAfee article on Cyberbullying – How Parents Can Minimize Impact On Kids https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/parents-minimize-cyberbullying-impact/
Prevention for Teens – How to Prevent Cyber Bullying
http://www.endcyberbullying.org/cyberbullying-prevention/cyberbullying-prevention-for-teens/prevention-for-teens/