Vera M. Reed is a writer and former educator who frequently contributes to several online education sites including Adultlearn.com, a great resource. She hopes you enjoy this article and will join the fight against online abuse! Learn how to Combat Bullying Now!
What is cyberbullying? It’s the use of the Internet and its various applications to harm and or harass people. Cyberbullying is an unfortunate wrinkle in society these days. Way back when, bullying was limited mostly to in-person abuse at schools, but these days it pervades almost all avenues of social media. And as it runs rampant in these platforms, it’s become nearly unavoidable for many children and young adults — these days, approximately 43% of children have experienced cyberbullying. That’s a lot — and especially considering the (very) serious consequences of cyberbullying, and it’s time to examine different ways to combat this awful trend.
Combat Bullying : How sites prevent it
Almost all forms of social media have a “report” button. You can report certain posts, certain people — and the site will shut it down if they deem it inappropriate. And on popular social media site Facebook, even if you don’t want to directly report someone, you can still block their posts from showing up on your page. Sites like Facebook continue to fight against cyberbullies — it’s an uphill battle, but everyday there continue to be more and more resources for victims of cyberbullying. Platforms like Instagram and Twitter also have preventative bully reporting systems.
Combat Bullying : How schools prevent it
Schools can be a great instrument in putting a stop to cyberbullying. They provide support for victims of cyberbullying, and can talk with the parents of the aggressors in the hopes of solving their hurtful behavior. Also, if the cyberbullying takes place during school hours they can punish the bullies with detention. Sounds harsh, but sometimes its what the situation calls for.
Teachers also do more than they know when it comes to teaching their students about online ethics — what’s okay and what is not.
Combat Bullying : How you can prevent it
Reporting cyberbullying is the best way to prevent it. As rampant a problem as it is, only 1 in 10 kids typically report cyberbullying to a parent or teacher — and if it doesn’t get noticed, it will continue to happen. Make sure your child feels safe confiding in you — their trust in you as a parent, guardian, or general authority figure is key when it comes to prevent cyberbullying.
There might even be sites that you want your children to avoid. While it can be hard to keep your kids off Facebook, you can apply parameters. A lot of parents don’t allow their children to get accounts until reaching high school age, when they are more independent and less vulnerable. It won’t solve everything, but it is an option that’s out there.
It’s important to see the opposite side too — maybe your child is a cyberbully. If you think your child might be cyberbullying others, you should explain to them just how damaging cyberbullying is, and how dire the consequences can be. It’s easy to have blind spots where your children are concerned, but with serious matters like cyberbullying, it’s important to remain clear-eyed.
Unfortunately, there are not cut and dried answers when it comes to how to combat bullying and cyberbullying. Just keep your eyes and ears (and laptops) open, and try to be mindful of your children’s activities online. You never know when you might need to step in and help.