Whenever I look into Cyber Bullying, I am reminded of the saying “Youth is wasted on the young”. How some kids target maliciously other kids with military precision is sickening and at times the victims never get over these incidents which they carry with them into adult life.
Kids now have the option of not only bullying physically on the playground, but are taking their bullying into cyberspace using social media. So previously a child could leave the playground or the school in severe cases, with cyber bullying the bully follows the child online regardless where they do.
Cyberbullying can also have an effect adults too, on the 18th of May, we spoke to Steve Hofmeyr about his experiences:
Kids are the natural victims
According to a study conducted by Intel Security’s McAfee, 87% of kids witnessed cyber bullying in 2014. Back in 2013, this number was only 27%. This means that in 12 month there has been a 3 fold escalation ! When delving deeper into the reason kids were bullied, 72% said it was because of their appearance, 26% said it was due to race or religion and 22% said it was because of their sexuality.
Other noteworthy results include that about half (49%) of youth have regretted something they have posted online and while 79% of youth have never used the Internet or social media to reinvent themselves, 1 in 3 feels more accepted on social media than they do in real life.
Parents should be aware that the youth seek social networks where their parents are not lurking. 90% of youth believe their parents trust them to do what is right online, however 45% would still change their online behaviour if they knew their parents were watching. Therefore kids hang out on YouTube(97%) say they visit this site or app on a weekly basis. Instagram was the next social network where 92% of respondents visit the site or app on a weekly basis.
What can parents do when it comes to Cyber Bullying ?
Here are some tips from McAfee:
- Start with conversation. When kids are really and willing to speak to you about a problem, try to listen as much as possible without offering judgment. Dialogue should be based on honesty and forgiveness, not recrimination.
- Be tech-savvy. Try to familiarize yourself with all the devices, social networks and websites your kids use. It also helps to learn some of the common slang kids are using online.
- Sharpen your senses. Several behavioural signals suggest a young person is being bullied. Does your kid become moody or anxious right after reading a text? Did she suddenly try to delete or deactivate her social media profiles? Watch out for dropping grades, a lack of interest in hobbies or a loss of friends — any of these can point to a cyberbullying scenario that needs to be addressed.
I wrote the 10 Non-Negotiable Cell phone rules when I decided it was time for my kids to get their cell phones. The article was written back in 2013, however it is very much relevant today.
While you might try to tell your kids that in the “bigger picture this will pass”, remember from their point of view its the only world they know and they have to live through this. Cyberbullying is real and is not to be dismissed as “kids being kids.”. Take action and teach your kids how to protect themselves from these kind of bullies.
More tip are available on : http://blogs.mcafee.com/category/consumer/family-safety and check out : http://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/teens-and-screens
* headline image from Shutterstock.com