Cyber Bullying

Facts and information on how to prevent cyber bullying:

In recognition of National School Safety Week's focus on online bullying, the following tip sheet is an example of the type of information available to parents on the ERASE Bullying website currently being developed.

Cyber bullying facts:

  • Cyber bullying occurs when a child is targeted through technology with the purpose of being harassed, embarrassed, threatened or hurt by another child.
  • It is done on the Internet and mobile phones through text messaging, instant messaging, social media sites, chat rooms, websites and email.
  • Incidents of cyber bullying can involve images intended to hurt or embarrass, cruel rumours, hacking into personal sites, and web pages created to target an individual.
  • Given the online nature, a single incident can be posted, reposted and viewed by thousands of people in a few seconds.
  • Cyber bullies are often able to remain anonymous, hiding behind false online identities, and online activities such as forums are less likely to be supervised by an adult.

Signs a child is being cyber bullied:

  • Changes to their pattern of computer or mobile phone usage.
  • Mood changes during or after using the computer. May appear anxious, depressed, irritable or fearful when online.
  • Tries to avoid discussions or questions about their online activities.
  • May complain of feeling unwell, have trouble sleeping or get nightmares.
  • Low self-esteem and putting themselves down.
  • Decreased interest in usual activities, school performance and social situations.
  • Threatening to hurt themselves or others.
  • May appear isolated from their peer group.

Signs a child could be cyber bullying another child:

  • Long hours spent online and secretive about online activities.
  • Appears agitated or excited when online.
  • Uses multiple online accounts or has various online identities.
  • Becomes upset or angry if he or she cannot use the computer.
  • Aggressive with family and friends; holds a positive view of aggression and has friends who bully and are aggressive.
  • Appears unconcerned for others' feelings and does not recognize the impact of his or her behaviour.
  • If you spot any of the warning signs and believe you know a child who is being bullied or is a bully, encourage him or her to unplug and to foster their offline friendships. Teaching all children to be part of the solution is the key to preventing cyber bullying.

How children can prevent cyber bullying:

  • Refuse to participate: Don't write it; don't read it; don't share it.
  • Work with other students and school officials to raise awareness and develop rules around cyber bullying.
  • Create flyers or build online forums to educate and share anti bullying messages and strategies.
  • Don't allow your friends to post personal photos or videos of others.
  • Be an example to your friends. If you wouldn't say it in person, don't say it online.
  • Speak out against cyber bullying and stand up for students who are bullied.
  • If you know someone who is being bullied or is a bully, tell an adult.
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