How to Stop Cyber Bullying in Australia
As with many types of technology, the internet has made many things better in our lives. Information is as close as a click and now we can communicate with our friends and family as quickly as we like no matter how far away they are. However, in other ways, technology can create an invasion into our lives that was unprecedented in the past. The breakdown of privacy in our lives due to the ways we share information on the internet, can give others new ways to abuse that information. One of the ways this is done is through cyber bullying.
Bullying has always been an issue among children and teenagers especially. Traditionally bullying has taken place at school or in other social situations that children are in. However, the advent of the internet actually gives bullies more opportunity to bully their victims. Understanding bullying is an important step toward stopping cyber bullying as well as other forms of bullying.
What is Cyber Bullying?
Cyber bullying is any time of online harassment that invades into an individual’s life and peace of mind. Many parents ignore cyber bullying because they do not realize that online harassment is a very serious form of bullying. Cyber bullying usually manifests itself by means of social media sites. Social media sites can be a great way for friends to stay in touch and usually social media can be a lot of fun. However, when bullies use social media sites to further torment their victims it can become a terrible invasion into your child’s life.
Cyber bullying can also happen by means of gaming sites, chat rooms, and in some cases even school websites. It is very important for parents to keep their self updated on their children’s online activities. When parents have an ongoing all access policy with their children it is easier to detect online bullying early on, before the bullying can reach intensely destructive levels.
Many parents want to know how to tell if what they are seeing on their child’s social media pages is really cyber bullying or not. There can be instances of harmless jesting, however, parents will be able to tell the difference because harmless jesting is usually two ways and no one’s feelings get hurt. Cyber bullying is when someone is directly addressing your child in a negative way on their page or on their own page. Often times a cyber bully will post things to their own page concerning their victims.
The bully always makes sure that their victim sees the insults or hears about the insults, however, if you have not actually seen the posts concerning your child, then it is very important that you listen to your child when they share this kind of information with you.
Cyber bullying usually is a progressive form of bullying. In many cases cyber bullying will begin in very innocent ways, and then progressively get worse and more destructive over time. One of the major ways to fuel cyber bullying is by reacting to the negative comments or messages. Cyber bullying must be fueled by reaction. When there is no reaction the cyber bullying will usually fizzle out after a little time. This is one of the many ways to stop cyber bullying. Directly responding to a cyber bully will have no constructive results.
If cyber bullying continues, despite efforts to ignore the bully it may become necessary to block these individuals from your child’s social media pages or to block their numbers in your child’s cell phone. This may seem like a simple solution to parents asking how to stop cyber bullying? However, this option can actually prove to be more difficult than it may appear.
Do not be surprised if your child or teen seems at first resistant to the idea of blocking bullies from their social media pages or blocking their numbers from their cell phones. This may seem like a strange reaction, but this is a side effect of the strange emotional reaction that cyber bullying can elicit from young people. Many young people find themselves becoming obsessive compulsive concerning the comments being said about them. The comments make them feel badly, but they continue to want to know what is being said. If the bully is blocked, then kids and teens fear that more things are being said, but that now they can not see what is being said. To many young people this is even more frustrating than the bad feelings they get from not seeing the comments.
It is very important for parents to discuss in depth the emotional reaction that the cyber bullying is having upon them. Most young people will not understand that this obsessive compulsive reaction is a vital part of the bully’s plan. This is the crux that cyber bullying turns upon. Cyber bullies know that their victims want to know what is being said about them, and for this reason they are resistant to block the bully and therefore the bully can continue their abuse for long periods of time.
Once the bully is blocked completely, the bullying loses it steam. Your child may continue to believe that things are being said about them, but it is the parent’s job to assure their child, that even if things are being said, they do not need to see it. Half of the fun for the bully is their victim’s reaction. No reaction, no fun.
What to Do In Severe Cases
There are times when cyber bullying escalates to cyber harassment. Cyber harassment is a crime and can be prosecuted.
Common cyber bullying turns into cyber harassment when a bully, even after being blocked will continue to harass a victim by uses other avenues to get to the victim. This can include other people’s social media pages, or even creating new or fictional pages in order to get back into the victim’s online life. When cyber bullying reaches this level of severity, it may become necessary to seek advice from a law officer or an attorney. Cyber harassment is a crime and there are laws in place to protect kids and teenagers from cyber harassment.
What Can You Do To Stop Cyber Bullying?
One of the best ways to stop cyber bullying is to educate your kids on how to not react to a bully’s tactics. Websites like www.angelsgoal.org.au is a great resource that helps to educate Australian kids and parents on how to combat bullying. This site also gives information concerning exciting Australian anti-bullying campaigns. Another great way to combat cyber bullying is to stay involved in your child’s online life and have a system in place for carefully selecting who can and can not be added to your child’s social media places. Complete strangers, or people that are known to have bullying tendencies, should not be allowed to join your child’s social media pages to begin with. In this way you never open the door for cyber bullies to enter your child’s online life.
Kids can also get involved in the fight against cyber bullying. If your kids have asked, “How can we stop cyber bullying?” encourage them to share stop cyber bullying slogans on their social media pages. When these slogans are posted and shared it helps to raise the awareness of other kids to understand that cyber bullying is not cool or funny. Over time, the more kids who become aware will continue to practice anti bullying habits.
Keep your kids informed as to how to protect themselves and their private information while they are online. The internet can be a dangerous place if young people are not careful and do not choose their friends wisely. Just like in real life you would not want your child to hang out with a complete stranger, you should also discourage them from spending time or befriending complete stranger online as well. This can be just as dangerous in many way.