A Guide to Cyber Bullying Facts in The United Kingdom
With today’s modern technology, young people are more inclined to use the Internet every day. The UK Council for Child Internet Safety reported that children aged 8-15 are avid Internet users and these children have the confidence that they can stay safe online. About only 2% of these children do not feel safe at all.
Young people use the Internet more and more each day for different reasons. They use it to research information to be used for their homework, to connect with their friends now that social networking is a big trend and they even use the Internet to do shopping or simply find anything that captures their interest. While the Internet can offer so much fun and information for everyone, it is not a guarantee that it is a safe place for everyone – especially for children.
The Negative Possibilities
What could go wrong in the age of modern technology? The advancements that technology offers have paved the way for more convenience in terms of reaching out to people all over the globe. In the past, people used to scribble messages on school walls or toilet stalls. Many of these messages can be mean in nature and be targeted towards a specific person. Today, these messages can be spread very easily through SMS, email or popular social networking sites. These examples are what are commonly known as cyber bullying.
Cyber bullying is a form of violence that is usually targeted at teens and can cause lasting harm to the victims. There are plenty of facts on cyber bullying that are spread across the Internet to help those who would like to know more about it. Statistics show that cyber bullying is a growing problem among young people and by knowing more about cyber bullying facts UK, young people can help each other fight this social problem.
The Different Forms of Cyber Bullying
Typically, cyber bullying makes use of technology such as the Internet and mobile gadgets to torment people. Unfortunately, this social problem has taken on various forms with the following as the common ones:
- Spreading rumors and gossip – With the birth of social media comes a faster way of sharing interesting news or articles, and at the same time – spreading rumors and gossip. This is quite a common form of cyber bullying among teens these days. Social media can be a very powerful tool because one post from a person can be spread to other people like wildfire. What cyber bullies usually do these days is to post something nasty about the victim and wait to see if it goes viral. Bullies should be aware that posting malicious things about someone can be a crime. In this age, it is better to be careful who to trust. Even your closest friends can be the source of the rumors and gossip.
- Blackmail – Blackmail is another rampant form of cyber bullying. This usually happens when young people meet new friends online and these “new friends” will pressure them to do something – most commonly lewd acts in front of the computer while being filmed. If the victim does not do his or her part, threats can be made against that person. In the United Kingdom, this form of violence is referred to as “grooming” and a person found guilty of such a crime will be jailed. It is important for young people to be careful when browsing the Internet especially when talking to strangers or meeting new people. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is important to act promptly by informing an adult or the authorities about the blackmail attempt.
- Circulating Nasty Pictures – With the advent of mobile phones and mobile apps, taking pictures today can be as simple as clicking your phone and uploading it straight online. Some people like the idea of being photographed and uploaded online; others do not like it especially if the picture is nothing pleasant. In addition, the manipulation of photos is common these days and can be used to spread online as a cyber bullying act.
- Stolen identity – Hacking into personal social media accounts and using someone’s profile to post something silly or embarrassing is another form of cyber bullying. To keep safe from this kind of situation, it is important to come up with a strong password for your social media accounts. Do not share your passwords – not even to your friends.
- Hateful comments – Since social media gives anyone the freedom to post anything, it has also become a place for hateful comments. It is a bit tempting to get back at someone for posting something unpleasant on your website, but the best approach is to delete these comments rather than make things worse by fighting fire with fire. There is also an option to block guest postings on your page if you totally want to avoid hateful or abusive comments.
- Sending Insulting Messages – Instant messaging can also be a platform for cyber bullying. While they are great applications to use to communicate with friends, they can also be used to harass people. If you are being harassed by nasty messages from people, you can easily block them off so you will stop receiving messages from them. If not, you can always take a screenshot of the nasty messages and use them as evidence.
- Online Threats – It is a criminal offence in the UK to send someone threats on the Internet. If you are a victim of online threats, it is best to notify your parents so they can inform the school or make a complaint to the authorities. The best way to deal with this is to take a screenshot of the online threats received and use this as evidence.
Why Bullying Happens
Young people are bullied for various reasons. It could be because the victim is of a different skin color or race or it could be that the bullied person has a different religion or beliefs. Sexual orientation and even appearance can also be a cause for bullying. While most of these reasons are common, there are also people who get bullied for no apparent reason.
Cyber bullying is a growing problem that not only happens inside the school, but also outside. Any act of violence against young people with the use of technology such as mobile phones is considered cyber bullying.
The Effects of Cyber Bullying
Bullying in general can be damaging to the victim. It can result in depression, anxiety and even suicide. The sad thing about cyber bullying is that once it hits the Internet and the nasty posts go viral, it will be hard to erase them. Most likely, they will resurface and continue to haunt the victim for a long time.
Many of these bullies think it is cool to bully someone online and some people may even think it is funny. These tormentors do not know the effects the act has on the victim. What they do not realize is that what gets posted on the Internet about the victim could result in a bad image for that person especially when the victim decides to apply for college or work in the future. With movements against cyber bullying, it is possible that bullies will be stripped of their rights to use mobile phones.
Parents of these tormentors may also face legal charges. In cases when cyber bullying is sexually offensive in nature, the bully could be considered a sex offender. Some bullies may be confident in thinking that they cannot be traced when harassing someone under a different name or a fake social media account, but if proper measures are taken, the cyber bully can be tracked.
Bullying can cause misery to someone’s life and take a toll on the emotions and social life of the victim. It destroys confidence and self-esteem and victims will usually fear for their safety as well. Because bullying can be detrimental to emotions, victims usually harbor suicidal thoughts which may ultimately lead to suicide.
It is normal to feel isolated when you are constantly being bullied. You will start to feel withdrawn and it will be hard for you to interact socially. In such cases, it is important to get help from the right people. You can help put an end to bullying if you start talking to someone. Asking someone for help does not mean that you are weak. Keep in mind that it is the first step to end the emotional torture. Everyone should be able to feel safe in school or outside of school and it is the responsibility of the school to let children feel that bullying is definitely unacceptable.
If you are willing, there are many people and even organizations to turn to for help. Reading cyber bullying facts for kids can also provide useful information on how to tackle bullying. Find someone you can trust – it could be your parents, your teacher or a longtime friend. If you are hesitant to talk about your situation even if these people are trustworthy, you can just leave them a note. While you may think talking to someone about bullying may only make things worse, it is actually the opposite.
There are also organizations in the UK that are against bullying. To gain the support people who fight against bullying, you will have to provide evidence that you are being bullied. In the case of cyber bullying, it is rather easy since you can just print it out or show a screenshot of the nasty texts or emails that you received from bullies.
Being around the right people can also help. Keep your distance from known bullies and always be around people you feel safe with. Fighting back may be tempting but it is never the answer since you can get in trouble or hurt yourself. The school can also play an important role in the fight against bullying of any form. Ask your school about their policies when it comes to bullying.
Advice for Parents of the Bullied
Parents can also feel hurt when they know their child is being bullied, but they should know that there are ways to solve the problem. In the UK, different organizations exist to help stop bullying. You do not have to be alone in the fight against bullying. The first thing you need to remember is to just keep your ears and mind open when your child tells you that he or she is being bullied. As a parent, you need to encourage your child to communicate with you freely and give reassurance that speaking out is alright. The next thing you can do is to talk to the school administration about the bullying incident.
It can be difficult to know if your child is suffering from bullying since most children keep this type of situation to themselves especially when they are being abused. It can be from the fear of being embarrassed or they just do not feel that telling someone can solve the problem. If you have a slight suspicion that your child is being bullied, you need to take action.
There are indications which can easily tell you that your child is being bullied. When you observe that your child has scratches or bruises on his or her body, it could be a sign. A child who has trouble focusing on schoolwork for no apparent reason may be suffering from emotional problems silently. In addition, if you find that your child seems to be more irritable than usual or is very emotional, there could be a problem.
Informing the school about bullying incidents is also a vital step to putting an end to bullying. It will help if you ask your child who he or she feels comfortable with since there may be a particular teacher that your child chooses to confide in. It is important to bring to light any cyber bullying situations to the school administration so that they can also take part in fighting against such offences.
Never Tolerate It
Bullying in any form is never acceptable. It is unfortunate that bullying has evolved into a faster way of harassing individuals with the advent of modern technology. However, the good news is that there are different groups that stand against cyber bullying. If you act fast enough, there is always a way to end cyber bullying.
http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html, http://choicesforlifeonline.org/cards/online-safety-and-cyberbullying-the-facts-for-teachers.aspx, http://www.bullying.co.uk/cyberbullying/what-is-cyberbullying/