Cyber Bullying And Online Safety

This Video is not suitable for children under the age of 16.

Bullying is behaviour that hurts someone else – such as name calling, hitting, pushing, spreading rumours, threatening or undermining someone.

 

Bullying that happens online, by the use of the internet, mobile phones or other interactive technologies. is called cyberbullying and it is gaining in popularity.   Cyber bullying is very dangerous behaviour and has been the caused of several suicides of young people who could not handle the torment and embarrassment of cyber bullying which was usually the result of embarrassing posts. 

 

Children may not always know who is bullying them online as it can be an extension of offline peer bullying or they may be targeted by someone using a fake or anonymous account as it is very easy to be anonymous online and that increases the likelihood of engaging in bullying behaviour.


Cyberbullying can happen at any time or anywhere and at any time of day or night.

 

Cyberbullying includes:

  • sending threatening or abusive text messages

  • creating and sharing embarrassing images or videos

  • 'trolling' - the sending of menacing or upsetting messages on social networks, chat rooms or online games

  • excluding children from online games, activities or friendship groups

  • setting up hate sites or groups about a particular child

  • encouraging young people to self-harm

  • voting for or against someone in an abusive poll

  • creating fake accounts, hijacking or stealing online identities to embarrass a young person or cause trouble using their name

  • sending explicit messages, also known as sexting

  • pressuring children into sending sexual images or engaging in sexual conversations.

Helping Your Child to Be Safe On Social Media

Preventing your children from using the internet or mobile phones won't keep them safe in the long run, so it's important to have conversations that help your child understand how to stay safe and what to do if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable.

 

Talking to your child is one of the best ways to keep them safe but do not try to cover everything in one conversation, you can explore on line together and show interest in their sites on line and you can chat as you explore.
 

Try to familiarize yourself with the internet. Make your own account on the sites your child uses (eg facebook, chat rooms . Get a feel for what it is about, learn the language, keep track of who they are talking to and trust your instincts

Parents have a duty and a responsibility to take an interest in their child’s online activities and to TALK about the risks with their child.  
Explain to your child that it's easy for people to lie about themselves online, like their age, for example, because you have never met them.  

 

Practice ‘What Would You Do  if…?’ scenarios with your child (eg what would you do if someone asked you to send a naked picture online? What would you do if someone you don’t know sends you a message asking to be friends?) Talk through the ‘safe choice’ for each of this situations with your child. 

To Keep Your Child Safe Online Make Sure They Know:

 

  • NEVER to chat to someone online who they don’t know well in real life.

  • The same ‘safety’ rules apply online as in real life. Children must know NEVER to reveal personal/sensitive information they wouldn’t tell a person face to face (such as address, school or anything else that could be used by those with sinister intentions to contact or trace your child). Use common sense.

  • NEVER take or send any nude/embarrassing photos/videos.

  • The differences between ‘talking’online and face to face. Explain to your child how chatting online can lead them to feel they know someone better than they actually do, and that some people on the internet will pretend to be someone they are not. Make sure your child knows that not everything on the internet in necessarily real, genuine or true.

  • To come to you if they are ever asked online to do anything they are uncomfortable with, or to keep anything from you, or are approached by someone they do not know online or if someone says something or they see something online that disturbs them.

  • To tell you if they see anything that upsets them in anyway, or if they are threatened or intimidated online. Explain calmly and be re-assuring, make sure they know they will never be in trouble for being honest with you and that you will listen.

  • NEVER to meet anyone  from online without your express permission and presence.

  • Not to fill out online forms without your awareness.

  • If your child is old enough (13+) and wants to use social networking sites like Facebook/Twitter, make sure you are with them when they set up their account. Don’t use a real or provocative screen name, as these are more likely to be targeted by predators or for spam. USE A SHARED FAMILY EMAIL ADDRESS so that you have access to emails your child receives  Make sure your child enters their correct birthday, as on Facebook people under 18 years old do not show up in searches, and content will be restricted. Make sure privacy settings are set to the highest level possible (see below).

  • If your child has any problems online (grooming behaviour, bullying, harassment , or if you/your child finds any illegal material on the internet (eg child pornography), report it. 

  • Use the ‘Parental Blocking‘ feature of your browser, or consider investing in parental-control software. If your child has a smart-phone, contact your service provider to ensure explicit content is blocked on their phone.

  • Go through with your child all contacts on all messengers (in phone and online, such as Black Berry Messenger, Whats App, Facebook, Xbox, Wii etc) and make sure all are known and safe. Remove and block all unknown/unsafe. explain to your child why this is important.

  • Keep your family computer in a shared place (the lounge or dining room for example), where you can keep an eye on your child’s online activity, but with the advancement of mobile Internet, this alone is not enough.

  • Children should not spend prolonged periods of time in front of a screen  and should take regular breaks.

  • Children should not play violent video games as studies have shown time and time again that these de-sensitize children to suffering in reality

  • Always check the age certification.

© 2011 Barbados Children Directory

 

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