Cyber Bullying - An Ever Growing Issue

Anti-bullying runs from 15th-19th November. We are always working hard to protect and educate our children in the ramifications of bullying but Anti-bullying week gives us the chance to emersed our children fully in the several types of bullying and what we can do to support them. In this blog we will focus on a worryingly fast-growing issue facing our children and young adults, cyber-bullying. 

Why Is Cyberbullying on the Rise? 

The technology of the 21st century has dramatically changed the landscape of bullying. Gone are the days where bullying predominantly happens in playgrounds or classrooms, gone too are the days where bullying is obvious, visible, and quick to respond to. 

Bullies today hide behind computer monitors and keyboards in the comfort of their homes, or behind the screen of the latest version of the most sought-after smartphone. They throw words rather than punches, stealing dignity and self-worth rather than lunch money. 

 

Implications for the Victim 

Victims of cyberbullying cannot get away from the attack, which becomes increasingly portable with advances in technology. 

Children can now gain access to the same social media content as adults. Sites like Facebook have age restrictions on members, but how easy is it to lie? 

When their attack comes it is public, permanent, and often repeated by several bystanders; black and white words witnessed by many that the victim can revisit repeatedly. It is all too easy for a coward to participate in this act due to its faceless nature. They carry the words of their bully right into their homes – compromising the feelings of safety and happiness that home should bring. 

 

Advice For Organisations in this Environment 

There are many online resources available to prepare organisations to deal with cyberbullying situations. 

It is naive to assume children will stay away from social media, so organisations also need to educate children on appropriate online behaviour. Both through curriculum modules and through visual reminders of what unacceptable online behaviour consists of, and what the consequences could be. 

Organisations also need to have a predefined response to cyberbullying with a zero-tolerance policy which is strictly enforced. Although cyberbullying is hard to identify initially, once it has been found there is hard and trackable evidence against any bullying activity. Leaders need to act on this evidence to suitably address and re-educate cyberbullying offenders whilst offering support for their victims 

 

Follow Up 

Organisations should also engage with parents to follow up on issues, and what behaviours instigated the bully to act so cruelly. It is important to remember that children are not inherently nasty and their behaviour could be a cry for help for a significant issue they are dealing with elsewhere. 

 

Some Useful Websites For Further Reading And Support 

 

References: 

[1] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/621070/Health_behaviour_in_school_age_children_cyberbullying.pdf 

[2] https://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/sites/default/files/field/attachment/Focus%20on%20Cyberbullying-1_1.pdf 

[3] https://momastery.com/blog/2014/01/30/share-schools/ 

 

Author
Vikkey Chaffe
Head of Community Relations

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