Miss Paul's Online Safety Snippets
Hello and welcome to our new ‘Online Safety Snippet’. In this little section I am aiming to give you small snippets of information about children’s’ online habits and how to help keep them safe online. According to Ofcom (Nov 2016) the internet has overtaken television as the top media past time for the UK’s children with children aged between 5 and 15 years spending around 15 hours each week online. This section aims to explore some of those habits and the issues they may raise.
Next week (12th Nov) is anti-bullying week and for the first time ever the Anti-Bullying Alliance is holding a Stop Speak Support Day on Thursday 15th November to highlight the issue of cyberbullying. The day is supported by the Royal Foundation and the Royal Cyberbullying Taskforce set up by the Duke of Cambridge. Cyberbullying continues to be a significant issue for young people today:
- 1 in 5 teenagers in England have experienced cyberbullying in the last two months
- Children who have been cyberbullied are more likely to be depressed, anxious and lonely
The link below provides information on the event and how to support your child in the online world. h
Cyber bullying is rife on the internet and most young people will experience it or see it at some time. In our recent, 56% of young people said they have seen others be bullied online and 42% have felt unsafe online. Cyber bullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it can go viral very fast.
Types of cyberbullying
There are many ways of bullying someone online and for some it can take shape in more ways than one. Some of the types of cyber bullying are:
Harassment - This is the act of sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages and being abusive. Nasty or humiliating comments on posts, photos and in chat rooms. Being explicitly offensive on gaming sites.
Denigration – This is when someone may send information about another person that is fake, damaging and untrue. Sharing photos of someone for the purpose to ridicule, spreading fake rumours and gossip. This can be on any site online or on apps. We even hear about people altering photos of others and posting in online for the purpose of bullying.
Flaming – This is when someone is purposely using really extreme and offensive language and getting into online arguments and fights. They do this to cause reactions and enjoy the fact it causes someone to get distressed.
Impersonation – This is when someone will hack into someone’s email or social networking account and use the person's online identity to send or post vicious or embarrassing material to/about others. The making up of fake profiles on social network sites, apps and online are common place and it can be really difficult to get them closed down.
Outing and Trickery – This is when someone may share personal information about another or trick someone into revealing secrets and forward it to others. They may also do this with private images and videos too.
Cyber Stalking – This is the act of repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm, harassment, intimidating messages, or engaging in other online activities that make a person afraid for his or her safety. The actions may be illegal too depending on what they are doing.
Exclusion – This is when others intentionally leave someone out of a group such as group messages, online apps, gaming sites and other online engagement. This is also a form of social bullying and a very common.
More information can be found here:
Following on from last weeks ‘snippet’ about cycber-bullying here is how you can getting help
There are many ways of getting help to get the cyber bullying to stop. Please read the advice article on bullying on social networks and apps (from https://www.bullying.co.uk/cyberbullying/what-is-cyberbullying/) if you want advice on this specific area. Their advice on how to deal with cyber bullying has lots of tips that can help too. You can also call them on 0808 800 2222 for advice and support.
West Mercia Police have produced informative advice sheets on what to do if you are being bullied online. The advice sheets are for young people and adults.
For many cyber bullying affects their everyday lives and is a constant source of distress and worry. With mobile technology being so freely available it is an ongoing issue and one that is relentless. Not only does it go on after school, college or work has finished, but it then carries through into the next day and the cycle continues. There becomes no ‘safe place’ because the online world can follow you wherever you are. It has been well documented that cyber bullying has resulted in tragic events including suicide, and self-harm and clearly, more needs to be done in order to protect vulnerable children and adults from online bullying.
If you are worried that your child or a loved one might be the victim of cyber bullying here are some signs to look out for:-
- Low self-esteem
- Withdrawal from family and spending a lot of time alone
- Reluctance to let parents or other family members anywhere near their mobiles, laptops etc.
- Finding excuses to stay away from school or work including school refusal
- Friends disappearing or being excluded from social events
What can you do to support someone who is being bullied online?
- Reinforce that no one deserves to be treated in this way and that they have done nothing wrong
- Ensure that they know that there is help available to them
- Encourage them to talk to a teacher that they trust so they feel they have somewhere safe at school to go to
- Encourage them to talk to their parents/carers and if this isn’t possible to write a letter or speak to another family member
- Take screen shots of the cyber bullying so that they have proof this is happening
- Report all abuse to the relevant social media networks by clicking on the “report abuse” button
- Keep a diary so they have somewhere safe and private to write down their innermost thoughts and feelings which will help to avoid feelings bottling up
- Give praise for being so brave and talking things through which will hopefully empower them to take responsibility and get help
- Sending abuse by email or posting it into a web board can be harassment and if this has happened make a complaint to the police who can trace IP addresses etc
- Ask the school if they have a School Liaison Police Officer that can help in this situation and talk to the school about the dangers and effects
Recent statistics show that
- 20% of children and young people indicate fear of cyber bullies made them reluctant to go to school
- 5% reported self-harm
- 3% reported an attempt of suicide as a direct result of cyber bullying
- Young people are found to be twice as likely to be bullied on FB as any other social networking site.
- 28% of young people have reported incidents of cyber bullying on Twitter
- 26% of young people have reported incidents of cyber bullying on Ask.fm
Ref: Beat Bullying Virtual Violence II report commissioned by Nominet Trust
What support and help is available
We know that cyber bullying can have devastating impacts on some children and young adults, especially when they feel there is no let up from the abuse. So what help is available if you feel your child might be in danger of self-harming or having suicidal thoughts?
Keep the school involved and put things in writing so you have a formal record of what has been going on. Ask the school if there is any pastoral support your child can access.
If your child has started to self-harm talk to your GP and a professional organisation who will be able to give you some much needed support such as Harmless or The National Self Harm Network Forum.
Remember that you are important too so it’s crucial that you are taking good care of yourself. The more relaxed you are feeling the better able you will be to support your child.
If you are worried that your child is having suicidal thoughts seek some medical advice from your GP. Young Minds is a national charity committed to improving the emotional and mental wellbeing of all children and young adults under the age of 25. They have a parents’ helpline where you can talk your situation through with a trained adviser.
But it’s not just children, Family Lives understands that cyber bullying affects adults too. We know that cyber bullying can also have a devastating impact on adults and can make you feel extremely isolated. It is very easy to post malicious and hurtful posts on social media sites as there is very little moderation and posts can go “live” before they can be reported. This can leave people feeling very vulnerable and at a loss as to what they can do.