October is National Bullying Prevention & Cyber Security Awareness Month. This post will discuss cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is becoming a major problem for families, schools and communities. The list below discuss the issue and give ways to protect your children and minimize the effects.
“Cyberbullying is when someone repeatedly and intentionally harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person online or while using cell phones or other electronic devices.”
· Remind children and youth that they never really know who is on the other end of online communication. It could be the person they think it is, but because they cannot see that person they should always proceed with caution in their exchanges. Remind them not to do or say anything online that they wouldn’t do or say in person. Stress that they should not reveal anything that they wouldn’t tell a stranger.
· Advise them to never share their email or social media account passwords with anyone, even their best friend. That friend may share it with other people, or the friendship may end, and then their private messages could suddenly become very public.
· Help them determine what is and is not appropriate to share online. This can include avoiding sharing personal photos or data (such as physical descriptions, phone numbers, or addresses).
What should you tell the child?
1. This is not your fault. Make sure they know they should not blame themselves.
2. You are not alone. Many children feel that no one can help and that nothing will change.
3. It is not up to you to stop the bullying; we will work together. It’s important that youth and adults are both involved in working toward a solution.
4. Bullying is never okay. Even though it happens, that never makes it right.
5. No one deserves to be bullied. All students have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
How to capture evidence of cyberbullying:
· Take screenshots of bullying content on a phone or computer
· Save emails, messages, and photos
· Encourage the child to forward hurtful texts to you or another trusted adult so that someone is keeping track of the evidence but the child can delete it from their own device
· If bullying is also happening in person, make sure to record the date and description of each instance. Talk with law enforcement, school officers and parents.