In an increasingly digitised world, kids are now spending more and more time online. Cyberbullying is one of the harsh realities that both children and parents are now having to face. To maintain a safe space on the internet for your child, keep on reading to find out exactly what cyberbullying is and how to avoid it.
It’s a term that’s often thrown around, but what exactly is cyberbullying? 💻
Cyberbullying is becoming more and more common. In fact, a 2019 study showed that around 15.7% of secondary school students were electronically bullied in the last 12 months. But how exactly do we define cyberbullying? 🤷
Cyberbullying is defined as bullying that takes place on digital devices, such as phones, computers, and tablets. 📱
Cyberbullying doesn’t only happen online. It can also occur via text message and phone. Cyberbullying can take place on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok. 🖥️
There are many different types of cyberbullying but some prime examples include harassment, posting negative information about someone, and sharing private information without consent. 🔒
As a parent, cyberbullying can be difficult to spot. Phones and computers give children constant and instant access to communication. Cyberbullying transcends the classroom, as the NSPCC explains; “online bullying can follow the child wherever they go.”
It’s difficult to be aware of everyone your child is communicating with online, which makes it harder to know whether they’ve ever encountered cyberbullying.
So, what can you do to help your child avoid cyberbullying? 🤔
While cyberbullying can be tricky to spot, it is avoidable. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you and your child stay safe online and steer clear of cyberbullying.
👉 Online education 101
It’s important for kids to understand the rules and consequences of digital communication. Remind them that once they post something online, it stays there forever. Make sure they’re also aware of the fact that what they post can be seen by people from all over the world, not just their friends. And finally, teach them how to communicate online. Texts and messages can often be misinterpreted due to a lack of context.
👉 Encourage open communication with your child
We know that kids don’t tend to be willing to share what they’re up to online. They might be more willing to do so, however, if you encourage open and respectful communication from the get-go. Show an interest in what apps they like to use on their phone. Ask them how they keep in touch with friends online. This way, you’ll get a better picture of how they spend their time online and will know where to look if problems arise.
👉 Know what to do if they encounter a problem
Make sure that both you and your child are aware of the resources that are available in the event of cyberbullying. Social media platforms always have options to block and/or report users. Ensure that you’re both aware of this function and encourage your child to use it if someone is making them feel uncomfortable online.
👉 Be able to spot the problem
As we said, it’s hard to be completely aware of what your kids are doing online. There are, however, some warning signs to look out for that suggest your child could be dealing with cyberbullying:
⚠️ Your child actively tries to hide what they’re doing online and conceals their screen or phone when you walk into the room.
⚠️ A change in your child’s emotional state. Maybe they’re more cagey than usual or they’ve become quiet, depressed, or withdrawn.
⚠️ A noticeable increase or decrease in device use.
⚠️ Your child is not willing to discuss what they’re doing online and avoids answering questions about it.
⚠️ Your child isolates themselves and starts to avoid social events.
The digital world has so many benefits when it comes to our children’s education, but it also comes with its fair share of problems. Cyberbullying being one of them.
Although it can be difficult to spot, cyberbullying is both common and extremely serious. Work together with your child and maintain open communication so that cyberbullying can be avoided. Make sure that both of you are in the know about what to do if your child encounters negative behaviour online or over the phone. 🧠
If you realise your child is dealing with cyberbullying, you can always reach out for support. Your child’s school will most likely have someone you can discuss the problem with and you can also contact organisations like the NSPCC, Bullying UK, and SupportLine.
At GoStudent, e-safety is our priority in our virtual classrooms. We also encourage students and parents to address any concerns they might have regarding online safety. You can book a trial lesson with one of our tutors here.