Want to stop cyberbullying? Check out our tips exclusive for teens and parents.
Before we proceed, let us define cyberbullying.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying also known as online bullying is a form of bullying which occurs electronically via the internet. It occurs on digital devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and most especially computers.
According to Adaware, 1 out of 4 US teens have been cyberbullied. Examples of cyberbullying includes repeated insults, defamation, cyber stalking(sending threatening messages), identity theft, sexting, posting altered image of the victim, and more.
In addition, Cyberbullies can harass people through the following common sources:
- Email (Electronic email)
- Text Message i.e. Short Message Service (SMS)
- Instant Message (via instant messaging apps such as Whatsapp)
- Social Media (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
- And more
On the other hand, cyberbullying have devastating effects on kids and teens alike depending on the severity. There have been instances where cyberbully victims were subject to mental breakdown, self-harm, and even suicide.
Cyberbullying should not be confused with online argument. However, when you are constantly harassed online then you may address the offender as a cyberbully.
Tips for Teens to stop cyberbullying
If you (or your kid) have been harassed online by cyberbullies, follow through these tips to stop cyberbullying.
Ignore the aggressor
Cyberbullies usually expect response from you in order to fuel a chain reaction of insults. You can try as much as possible to ignore the cyberbully. If possible, you can make use of humour to respond to their cruel words.
Block the bully
Several social media apps enable you to block a person. If you get harassed from any social media channel, text messages, or even email; ensure you block the person. Alternatively, you can report the abuse to the service or support center. For instance, Facebook comes with blocking capability as well as report abuse for such cases. Nevertheless, if the cyber harassment escalates from the cyberspace to your physical sphere, then you may report to the authorities.
Protect your online identity
Prioritize your online identity by applying standard practices for online privacy. Don’t give out your passwords. Modify your online privacy settings and set it to private. Add only friends you know to your friends list. Besides, there is no harm in unfriending a cyberbully from your social media.
In addition, don’t share your personal information on social media. Keep your phone number and email address private from the prying eyes. This should halt any form of online bullying you may experience.
Save the evidence
In this digital age, online bullying evidences can be acquired by screen capture, saving or even showing someone. If you have been bullied online, you can always stop it by showing the evidence to other people most especially your parents. This will enable them to take the appropriate means to prevent the problem.
Use the magic word – Stop
Stop is a magic word which means start telling other people. Sometimes simply telling the cyberbully to stop works but there are cases where they are unrepentant. Therefore, you need to tell someone you know trust such as your parent, friend, teacher, or an adult. Remember, a problem shared is a problem solved.
What can Parents do to stop cyberbully?
If your kids or teens have experienced any form of online bullying, apply these tips to stop it.
Don’t start by blaming your kids for being responsible for the bullying. Instead, try to understand the bullying history and work together with your children to find a germane solution to the problem. Remember, encouraging your children will help them to grow through this militating phase.
Get acquainted with various social network websites
Familiarize with sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, as well as online forums where your kids were bullied. If necessary, check the harassment messages received by your kids.
Install Apps to prevent cyberbully
There are some specialized apps parents can use in preventing cyberbully. Some of the recommended apps include NetNanny, Cyber Patrol, My Mobile Watchdog and ReThink. With the anti-cyberbully programs, you can monitor your kids’ online activity and prevent online bullying even before it happens.
Block the cyberbully
As the parent, you can prevent the cyberbully threats by using blocking features available on the social networking sites (SNS) to block the bully.
In addition, you can contact the administrators of such services and report the bully using the evidences available on your children’s digital devices. Also, you may have to present pictures (or video) evidences to the administrator for the appropriate action against the aggressor.
Report to the authority
Virtual communication should remain ‘virtual’. However, if the bullying occurs both online and offline maybe at school or the vicinity, then you should report to the local authorities depending on the location where the harassment emanates. To keep your child safe, you may have to report at the police station for a legal restraining order against the bully.
The Bottom Line
According to Statista, 14% of US internet users recounted their cyberbullying experience in 2016. Cyberbullying is a big issue experienced across the globe by internet active pre-teens and teens as well as adults. Bullies are mean, rude, aggressive, and unrelenting individuals but they are human beings. Lastly, by applying any of these tips, you (or your kids) should be able to stop cyberbullying.
Have you encountered any cyberbully before, share your experience by commenting below.