Youth cyber bullying is an important, and often forgotten aspect of our online lives. It’s important to take a step back and realise that while the internet has given the world a raft of new opportunities, it has also opened a problematic can of worms for younger users who face the dangers, and live with the consequences of youth cyber bullying. We’ve put together a quick guide to help keep you informed on the scope of the problem, and how you can be a force for good in tackling the issue.
Cyberbullying is a form of bullying or harassment using electronic means. It has become increasingly common, especially among teenagers, as the digital world has expanded and technology enabling it has advanced. Cyberbullying is the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person, often anonymously, on publicly accessible websites and social media platforms.
Nowadays, parents want their children to use technology. They introduce them to mobile phones, apps, and games a very young age. They somehow think that their child is learning something new. However, the reality is that the child is actually been exposed to the dangers of social media attacks and cyber bullying.
These days, children do online leisure activities, and as a result of this, they face anonymous cyberbullying. This can lead to long-term damage to children’s mental health. Some common online issues kids face include:
– Cyber Predators
– Cyber Bullying
– Identity Theft
Despite the rise in cyberbullying complaints and threats, there are few technological solutions that prove helpful. Children spend long hours playing online games, which impacts not only their mental state, but also their social skills.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that more than 56% of the world’s children are the victims of online bullying.
Signs of Cyberbullying:
- Being upset after using the internet or their mobile phone
- Changes in personality, becoming more withdrawn, anxious, sad, or angry
- Appearing more lonely or distressed
- Unexpected changes in friendship groups
- A decline in their school work
- Changes in their sleep patterns
- Avoidance of school, sports clubs or social events
- A decline in their physical health
- Becoming secretive about their online activities and mobile phone us
Kids ages 8-18, spend 7 hours and 38 minutes per day online. If a child sleeps 8 hours per night, that means ONE HALF of the time that he or she is awake, is spent online.
– 32% Online
– 33% Offline (awake)
– 33.1% Asleep
They are unknowingly using one or another platform to get into the cyber world to avoid this bullying. Many games these days are actually giving children an open chatbox. These options welcoming new threats, their cyberbullying keeps growing.
Children play games, video chat, or surf the web on a cell phone or tablet, they might access the Internet. They need to be careful when using cell phones just like we are careful when using a computer.
Cyber Safety Tips for Kids
• Always Keep your mobile device close to you. Never leave your mobile devices unattended.
• Protect them with a password. Always lock your device when you are not using it. Use strong passwords to prevent others from accessing your device. Always share your passwords with your parent or guardian.
• Know Your Apps. Check with your parents before you download an app and review the settings with them.
• Only Connect to the Internet if needed. Disconnect your device from the Internet when you aren’t using it.
Cyberbullying is real, we cannot eliminate until the digital world exists. But if we be careful and provide education in school and at home, Children can remain protective and enjoy their daily life.
Things to Remember:
- Think twice before you post or say anything online; once it is in cyberspace, it’s out there forever.
- Treat others like you want to be treated.
- Speak up. If you see something inappropriate, let the website know and tell an adult you trust.
- Don’t stand for bullying—online or off.
For more information on the topic of youth cyber bullying, you can visit the government’s eSafety Commissioner website for strategies in dealing with cyber bullying and more advice specific for parents.