Bullies have been around forever, but technology has given them a whole new platform for their actions.
One in 10 kids experience cyberbullying, and that number is on the rise.
What is it?
Cyberbullying is the use of online social networking sites (such as Facebook), chatrooms, emails and text messages to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another young person.
If an adult is involved, it may meet the definition of cyber-harassment or cyber-stalking, a crime that can have legal consequences and involve jail time.
- About 10 percent of students say they have been bullied online or through their mobile phones.
- More than 90 percent of these students say that this cyber aspect was part of an overall bullying campaign which included face-to-face bullying.
Is it easy to spot?
Sometimes cyberbullying can be easy to spot – for example, if your child shows you a text message, tweet, or response to a status update on Facebook that is embarrassing, mean or threatening. Other acts are less obvious, like impersonating a victim online or posting personal information, photos or videos designed to hurt or embarrass another person.
What can you do?
- Be aware: Learn what you can about cyberbullying and about safe computer and phone use.
- Be supportive: Encourage communication and listen.
- Watch for signs: Changes in behaviour, reluctance to use the computer or go to school.
- Take action: Talk to the school (if the matter is school-related) or if threats of harm are being made, go directly to the Police.
- Don’t brush it off: Cyberbullying is very serious and very real.
- 35 percent of children have been bullied or harassed online according to international research.
- An estimated 200 million children and youth around the world are being bullied by their peers, according to the 2007 Kandersteg Declaration Against Bullying in Children and Youth.
- One in five New Zealand high school students reported being cyberbullied in 2007, according to Netsafe.
- Children who were bullied were up to nine times more likely to have suicidal thoughts, say some studies.
- Girls who were victims of bullying in their early primary school years were more likely to remain victims as they got older, according to British research.
- Children who were frequently bullied by their peers were more likely to develop psychotic symptoms in their early adolescence, says more UK research.
- Young people who bully have a one in four chance of having a criminal record by the age of 30.
- Bullying is the fourth most common reason young people seek help from children’s help services.
For more information
- Netsafe – cyberbullying
- Keeping your kids safe online
- The Parenting Place – online safety
- Kidspot – facts and figures about bullying
- Kidspot – advice on how to tackle cyber bullies