As a growing public health issue, cyber bullying has become a problem in schools throughout Australia. Around 20% of children experience cyber bullying, with 17% of them encountering it every week. If you’re a concerned parent or teacher who wants to protect their kids or students from cyber bullying and its ill-effects, we have some tips you may find useful in reaching that goal.
Encourage an Open Environment that Promotes Discussion
According to statistics, the number of children who experienced cyber bullying doubled between late 2017 and late 2018. If you don’t want your children to become one of those statistics, it’s a good idea to promote an open environment that encourages discussions about bullying.
Unlike adults, children can’t fully appraise situations. This inability may mean they find themselves becoming victims of cyber bullying, without realising that the actions causing them to feel bad constitute bullying behaviour. Some may also feel unable to speak to their parents, as online bullying might not feel as real as in-person or physical bullying.
By telling your children they can discuss cyber bullying with you without being judged, you’re making sure they feel at ease with doing so. Once you’re aware of potential problems, you’re in a stronger position to prevent things from escalating further.
Use Digital Tools that Tackle Cyber Bullying
As this research from Reach Out Australia shows, the number one reason for children not seeking out help for bullying is the stigma surrounding doing so. They may not want to be perceived as weak, or they may feel they’ll face ridicule because the problem isn’t deemed serious enough.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to encourage your child to seek help, especially when you’re not aware that bullying is happening. One way to overcome this is by using digital tools that monitor incidents of online bullying.
Digital tools such as Starshell Student detect online and social media bullying incidents that you may not notice. Using new technology and innovation, this online digital monitoring tool in Australia filters content that may be harmful or considered as a form of harassment. It also notifies students if something they’re about to post on social media can be considered as a form of cyber bullying. This prevents them from becoming cyber bullies themselves and allows users to recognise online bullying for what it is.
Teach Children how to Behave Responsibly Online
Although some children may post harmful content online even if they’re aware that doing so isn’t right, others may see their actions as harmless. If you want to prevent your child from becoming an online bully, it’s a good idea to discuss appropriate internet behaviour with them.
Around 99% of children aged 15 to 17 in Australia access the internet each week. If your teenager is one of them, you may want to make sure they know that the following behaviours aren’t okay:
- Sharing a photo because they know the person in it finds it embarrassing.
- Creating messaging groups to discuss another child in an unpleasant light.
- Writing offensive status updates or sharing tweets about another teen.
- Copying someone’s online presence to create a fake profile.
Being aware is key. If they’re aware that these may be considered as cyber bullying, it’ll be easier to help them avoid doing them.
Discuss Online Bullying with Your Child’s School
Around 84% of children who are victims of online bullying are also experiencing offline bullying. This statistic suggests that the problem is permeating into schools, which your children’s teachers will need to be aware of.
Schools can play a positive role in reducing bullying incidents, both online and offline. In addition to helping you support your child, they can educate the student population in general to prevent the problem from continuing and spreading. Through workshops and seminars and by having a solid anti-bullying framework, schools can help spread awareness and educate students on what they should do if ever they encounter bullying as a victim or as a part of peer pressure.
At Starshell Student, it’s our aim to save students and young children from cyber bullying and its negative effects. Our platform functions as a digital tool that filters offensive online content as well as an educational tool that helps users become more responsible users of social media. If you need more information about how we can help or what we offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us.