“Why don’t you go and jump off a cliff? No-one will really care”
“Go and drown yourself”
These are the sorts of torments that children are now copping from their peers at school. But most children don’t have the guts to make these comments face-to-face. It’s all happening online.
Kids have always had the ability to be nasty to each other; this in itself is nothing new. However the internet has opened up a platform that makes bullying so much worse in its cyber form. For many children it seems like there’s no escape from their cyber bullies, as their home is no longer the safe haven it should be.
Also, the act of hiding behind a screen somehow encourages children to say things to or about another person that are far worse than they’d ever dream of saying to someone’s face. Comments like “You’re so ugly, no-one could ever like you” are commonplace in chat rooms and social media platforms, and they’re ruining children’s lives.
In this post we’ll share some cyber bullying facts that you need to be aware of, as well as some action you can take to stop bullying and promote cyber safety for kids.
It’s Vital For Us To Stop Bullying As Soon As It Starts
Unless your child is living under a rock, completely isolated from any sort of “normal” life, there’s a good chance he or she will come into contact with some form of cyber bullying during their primary school and high school years. Whilst everyone knows how awful the effects of bullying, and particularly cyber bullying can be, not enough is being done to stop it.
Some people are quick to blame the government for not doing enough to stop bullying, and there is certainly some merit in this. For some reason cyber bullying is not a crime, even though it can and does directly lead to suicide. Words alone without physical contact are not considered criminal. The question is asked in the above video: “Suicide, as a consequence of bullying: is it not akin to murder?”
Whether or not cyber bullying is a crime legally, it’s clearly very wrong morally on every level. Children need to be educated about the effects of bullying and the role that they can play in it from a very young age.
Teachers at schools do contribute towards educating students about bullying, and there are policies at schools to minimize its occurrence. But they’re often not effective. While schools can play a part in curbing bullying amongst their students, their main aim is to spend the majority of their time educating students in other topics. Consequently parents are left to take a leading – and very difficult – role in protecting their children from bullies.
Why Is It So Difficult To Stop Bullying?
One of the main reasons it’s so difficult to stop bullying, and in particular cyber bullying, is because often parents aren’t aware of it. Most kids put up with being bullied online in silence, which makes it very difficult for parents to help them through it. If you think your child might be being bullied you may find this post helpful: http://childrenandtechnology.com/stop-cyber-bullying
Even if you know your child is being bullied, there is no simple fix. Most of us have heard stories from parents who have been left with little choice but to remove their children from a school where they were bullied, while the bullies still happily attend that school and continue to bully other students.
There are actions we can take to stop bullying, but it’s always better to prevent the situation from occurring, or at least nip it in the bud as soon as it starts, rather than dealing with it once it escalates – which often happens very quickly.
All Parties To Bullying May Be Victims
It’s important to understand that while it’s clear to see who is the main victim of cyber bullying, there are often three sets of victims involved. Often the cyber bully is also a victim, even though many don’t see them in this light. Their act of bullying may be a desperate cry for attention that they’re not otherwise getting but crave.
It’s also very common that a child who has been bullied turns into a bully. It may be that after experiencing the pain of being bullied, a victim is determined not to be in that position, and they see the easiest way of ensuring it doesn’t happen is to become the perpetrator themselves.
The third party to cyber bullying that often gets neglected completely, yet who is very much affected by cyber bullying, are the inevitable bystanders. It’s easy to be torn between wanting to defend someone who is being bullied, and being too scared to speak up for fear of becoming the next direct victim. This is a very stressful situation to be in, and it’s one that can also cause anxiety and depression.
How Would You Feel?
At just 12 or 13 years of age, we hear the girl in this video tell us “I wanted to leave this world and never come back”. She writes in her notebook that “I hate myself so much. I want to die!”
Can you imagine if this was your daughter speaking and writing these words? It could alternatively be a friend or a peer of one of your children feeling this way. We need to be encouraging our children to be supporting those who they see are being bullied and who are clearly in need of some friendly support. Who knows, some support from one friend may just be enough to save a life.
Cyber Bullying Facts
So often there are statistics quoted in relation to cyber bullying in the US. But the video above includes relevant Australian statistics. According to this video, a child in Australia is being bullied on average every fifteen minutes. Worse than that, more than 100,000 students don’t attend school every day because they fear for their safety there. And here’s the clincher: we are told that “three Australians every week are taking their lives as a result of bullying”.
This is simply not something that can be overlooked or ignored. We all have to take action to stop bullying. And it starts with education.
Cyber Safety For Kids: How Can You Create A Safer Environment For Those You Love The Most?
If cyber safety for kids was an easy topic to master, we wouldn’t be having the problems or seeing the statistics we are seeing today. There is definitely a process in learning what we need to know as parents so that we can be in a position to guide our children to be safe online. Not only do we want them to be safe, but of course we want to ensure our children are not the ones instigating cyber bullying against others. It’s just as difficult to find out your child is a cyber bully as it would be to find out they’re a victim of another bully.
The key is to start learning early – in fact the time to get on top of this topic was yesterday! Most parents with children aged 5-12 are more concerned about their children possibly being bullied in future than they are about what their children are doing today. And that’s perfectly understandable if your children haven’t been involved in bullying (physically or in cyber form) yet.
But here’s the thing: if you want to be in a position to help your children if they do get bullied in future, the time to figure out what to do is NOW, before it happens. That way you’re not caught off guard and already on the back foot, reacting (possibly in a way that won’t help!) as opposed to constructively responding.
And of course, there’s no way for you to know when exactly your child may initially be involved in cyber bullying. They could be as young as 5 and in kindergarten! Or they could be lucky and reach high school before they’re affected by it. You just don’t know.
As the video trailer above points out: “children as young as 12 are being bullied to death”. If they’re committing suicide already at 12, they’ve been bullied for a while before that – long enough for them to have had enough and see no other way to escape.
Is There A Solution?
If the question is whether you can you guarantee a way for your child to be completely free from cyber bullying, the answer is unfortunately no. Cyber bullying is rampant. Again the video points out that “social media is spawning a brutal cruelty among children online”, and it’s very widespread.
However there are certainly ways to minimize the impact of cyber bullying, and to stop it from spiraling completely out of control. It isn’t easy and it takes effort and diligence. It’s not just a matter of reading an article for 5 minutes to gain a full understanding of how you can help. It’s much more complex than that. But the important thing is that it can be done.
Whilst it’s no longer a question of whether you need to educate yourself in relation to all aspects of safety online (not just cyber bullying), the only question then is how to go about it.
The Peaceful Digital Parenting Solution
After years of research into this topic, I have collated the best knowledge available online in relation to not only cyber bullying, but all aspects of cyber safety for kids. I’ve been able to distill this information in a format that is clear, helpful and easy to follow, and best of all that saves you precious time.
There’s plenty of information you can find online about this topic, and if you have hours upon hours to spend searching for it all then you should be able to find the good stuff mixed in with all the superfluous stuff. But take it from one who’s been there/ done that: it’s overwhelming and very time consuming sorting through it all!
This is what I’ve been doing for a very long time now, the end result being a program that just gives you the information you need to know to keep your children safe online – without the extra stuff you don’t need to know.
Cyber Safety For Kids – Wrapped Up In A Nutshell
If you want to save yourself time and gain the comprehensive knowledge you need in order to truly keep your children safe online, then the Peaceful Digital Parenting Solution is designed specifically for you. All the hard work has been done for you within this program. You only need to use the information provided and implement it in order to achieve the desired results.
You can find out more about how the Peaceful Digital Parenting Solution works here: http://childrenandtechnology.com/peaceful-digital-parenting-solution