While the internet has brought about some incredible advantages, it has also opened up a channel for people to have the kind of negative behaviour that they might or might not do in a face to face situation. One of the most destructive behaviours has been the increase in cyberbullying, which has had an incredibly bad effect on kids; some to the point of causing physical harm. Every child, parent and caregiver needs to be aware of what cyberbullying is and how to stop it.
According to StopCyberBullying.org, “Cyberbullying” is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is NEVER called cyberbullying.
CyberBullying.org indicates that the cause of this behavior is a combination of emotional and psychological problems including but not exclusive to: low self-esteem, anger, suicidal ideation, and frustration. Adolescent girls are just as likely, if not more likely to experience cyberbullying as either offender or victim. Cyberbullying is related to issues that correlate in the ‘real world’ including substance use, anti-social behavior and delinquency. Those who are involved in traditional bullying are usually those that also bully online.
In a CyberBullying.org study they researched and developed the following information:
*97.5% have been online in the previous 30 days
*63% have a cell phone
*42% regularly use Instagram
*33% regularly use Facebook
*15% have been the target of cyberbullying in the previous 30 days (boys: 11.8%; girls: 18.5%)
*6.3% have cyberbullied others in the previous 30 days (boys: 6.1%; girls: 6.5%)
Prevention of Cyberbullying is a key element in getting it to stop before it gets out of hand and causes damage. Since the motives and operation of each person is different, there isn’t a single solution that addresses the problem. However, education is the one common ingredient that can help. For those caught doing the bullying they need to understand the consequences, such as losing their internet accounts as well as phones. Instructing them to respect others as well as taking a stand against all types of bullying can assist in empowering them to follow through.
There may be deep psychological difficulties that kids are going through and this is where the parents need to be a trusted source to help kids during online and offline difficulties. Unfortunately, in many cases, parents are the one area that kids avoid for reporting and due to this, cyberbullying can get out of hand, potentially escalating a child into a serious emotional or physical situation. Parents need to have a high level of diligence in the case where professional help is needed to circumvent destructive behaviour of either those that do the bullying or the ones that are bullied.
“Cyberbullying is often the one topic that kids don’t wish to talk about. For those that are bullied it is a symbol of personal failure as they become targets of often untrue and horrible attacks, and since the bullying is done during the sensitive ages, if left unchecked, it can have a detrimental effect on their lives. DaVinci Forensics views cyberbullying as a serious condition and we feel that both children and parents need to be able to recognise and take action against it. Education on what to do and how to stop cyberbullying is one of our commitments to the public and we have established a safe-haven online solution to assist kids and adults in addressing this issue so that they can take charge of their lives.”
Sharon Knowles, Da Vinci Forensics