June 7, 2011


Recent research shows that 14% of children in Australia suffer from cyberbullying.
Generally, the internet is a highly valuable tool for people of all ages, for instant research and answers of any kind.
However, the internet has also given a new face to an old problem – bullying. The internet allows people to bully or get revenge, without physical confrontation. This ease of use is one of many reasons why cyber bullying is growing exponentially.
Cyberbullying is any form of bullying that is carried out using technology, especially the internet or mobile phones.

Cyberbullying can include:
Using mobile phones by texting or by using a camera
Sending threatening emails or forwarding nasty emails
Setting up malicious websitesInsulting or excluding someone in chatrooms

Frequency of cyber bullying methods

Cyberbullying is different to bullying that occurs in person because:
• It can take place 24/7 meaning it can be difficult to escape
• It can reach a wider audience
• The written word and/or pictures can be permanent and there for all to see
• It can be more secretive and is less easily detected
• It can be anonymous

Tips For Dealing With Cyberbullying

Be Proactive
Don’t wait until a problem occurs. Prevention is always the best approach. Protect your phone number. Only give it to friends, and keep a note of who you’ve given it to. Consider using caller ID blocking to hide your phone number when you call someone.
Don’t give your personal information to anyone you don’t know (or don’t want to know), including your name. Similarly, don’t leave your name on your voicemail as it confirms to the person doing the bullying that they’ve called the right number.
Have regular discussions with your child about how they might respond to cyberbullying if it occurs.
Don’t Respond
Don’t reply to the bully. Responding gives the bully the ‘kick’ they’re after. But it is essential that you encourage your child to tell you or a teacher or another adult when there is something concerning them. Reassure them they will not be trouble with you if they ever do.
Suggestions for Safe Behaviour
• Keep username and passwords secret. Make passwords and security questions hard for others to guess.
• Don’t tell anyone your name, where you live or other personal details which might help them identify you.
• Only put the friends you know on your contact lists.
• Don’t respond if someone says something that is not appropriate or makes you feel uncomfortable. Leave the site immediately.
• Be careful about what you say online; misunderstandings can occur more easily because there are no non-verbal cues when communication is not face to face.
Use Technology to Protect Your Family
Block and delete the individuals who bully your child online. Save the text, images, or the website that contains the bullying.
Also talk to your mobile phone company to see if they can help. Your phone company may be able to stop certain numbers calling you. They may also be able to provide you with a new phone number. Ask them about your options.
Make sure you keep a record of what has happened - include the date and the time. Keep messages. This information can be used as evidence.
Have a Rest From Technology
Encourage your child to turn their phone or computer off sometimes. This encourages them to lead a balanced life and can give them themselves a break from contact with individuals who harass them.
Try to buffer the impact of the cyber bullying by increasing other positive experiences
• Assist the development of self-esteem and self-confidence by helping the child to develop a broader sense of themselves – highlight their strengths, reassure them that they are loved and valued in the family, encourage and support their interests
• Create opportunities for them to expand their support networks outside of the bullying setting
• Help the child experience a sense of personal power and control in other areas of life such as involving them in some decision-making at home
• Reduce the child’ focus on the bullying by increasing the amount of other enjoyable and fun things in their life.
The Law
The law is on your side. People who bully believe that mobile phones and computers are a means of taunting their target anonymously. They are wrong. It’s a criminal offence to use a mobile phone or computer to intimidate, harass or offend another person. And almost all malicious contacts can now be traced.

At Enough is Enough, we have been discussing the issue of cyber bullying with parents and teachers in the Positive Solutions Bullying Resilience Program.
The issue is exacerbated by the amount of time children are permitted on the internet without supervision. If your child has a tool to get on to wireless internet in their bedroom, such as a computer, game console, Mobile phone etc., they have access to the net 24/7, and all the issues which can come with it.
Children can spend all night watching and responding to internet conversations, worried about comments made. This type of behaviour can destroy a child with low self esteem, exclusion in the real world and sleep deprivation. Parents need to go online, discover all the new portals their children are using ie Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc., how they work, how communication can get out of hand, and how to set limits.
Then, if the internet tool is kept in a common area of the house, the child only has the time to use it in waking hours.
They have to be careful of the content they search, or comments they make, as an adult may walk past. As a condition of the child’s internet use, parents should have all usernames and passwords, not to be given to anyone else, and parents should make their children aware they will regularly check the internet use history, simply by clicking the favourites button on the home page.
Children should be advised never to share their usernames or passwords with anyone else, as their friends at school can change at a whim, then post negative comments on the child’s behalf without the child’s knowledge or permission.
The same goes for images. If an image is taken of your child by camera or phone, it takes less than one minute for that image to be on the internet, not only to everyone in a persons address book, but in cyberspace forever.
Comments and images can have legal repercussions for the person who the image is of, and the person distributing the image – this comes under the Child Sex Offenses ACT.
• Check out Facebook, Twitter, Club Penguin and all other chat sites- learn how to use them
• Know your child’s usernames and passwords
• Tell your child not to share their usernames and passwords with anyone else
• Keep all internet tools in common areas of the house, not in their bedroom
• Advise your children to be aware of their behaviour in any public place, most electrical devices now include a camera
• Advise your children to be very careful of what photos are taken of them
See below for more advise and information sites on how to protect your family, and use the internet for the great research tool it is intended for.
Please click on this button to report abuse or receive help/advice on cyberbullying :

·         Report online child sexual exploitation
Report any inappropriate sexual behaviour towards a child.
·         Report inappropriate content
Report any Internet content which you believe is prohibited or inappropriate.
·         Report spam
Report spam to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
·         Help and advice on cyber-bullying
Assistance on how to deal with cyber-bullying.
Note: This information is for people who live in Australia only.  For advice on reporting these issues from another country, please visit the Virtual Global Taskforce website.


1 comment:

  1. Parents should aim to have open conversations around cyber awareness, safety and bullying however, if parents don't have an awareness of the platform themselves, that can cause issues. Trying a training course designed to get you up to date and competent to be having the conversation could be the way to go, such as Social Media Education Group