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Taking a Stand Against Cyberbullying

20/08/2015

Bullying used to be something you could see or hear, like face-to-face, physical and verbal behaviour in the playground, classroom and on the way to and from school. Now, online technology and constant connectivity means that children can be bullied online, anytime, anywhere, and often out of sight of adult eyes. As a parent, this can be a cause for concern.

Cyberbullying occurs when technology is used to deliberately and repeatedly engage in hostile behaviour to harm someone. Groups and individuals can be both the perpetrators and targets of bullying.

Cyberbullying most commonly occurs through comments posted in an open online environment such as social media sites, and direct text, email or instant messages online or on a mobile phone.

Friends and family can play an important role in helping reduce the spread and impact of cyberbullying because cyber-bullies may back down when they see that their target has support. Here are some simple steps for parents you can encourage your child to take if they see or know that a friend is being cyberbullied.

Don‘t forward messages or pictures. Though they may not have started it, they will become a part of the cyberbullying cycle.

Be mindful of what you post or say on Facebook and other social media sites.

Stand up and speak out against cyberbullying. Encourage the child to tell the bully that their comments or actions are hurtful and that they should stop.  If we do or say nothing then this gives the green light to bullies.

Encourage the child to talk to someone they trust like parents or a teacher.

Support your child by reporting the cyberbullying. Most websites have online help centres and reporting facilities, and online abuse is in violation of the terms of social networking sites. 

if your child or someone you care about has been affected by bullying, support is available: www.cybersmart.gov.au or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.