In 2015, the survey Cyberbullying is the top concern of Canadian parents, according to the survey “Protecting Canadian Families Online“. The topic of bullying ranked higher with 48% of parents than substance abuse, alcohol consumption, and pregnancy in teens.
Cyberbullying has grown into a serious problem facing our children and families.
It is important for parents and educators to be aware of what constitutes cyberbullying, signs victims often display, and some ways to curb online harassment.
Cyberbullying is bullying that repeatedly occurs over communication technology.
The act of cyberbullying involves one or more of the following:
- sending threatening messages
- posting embarrassing pictures
- developing a website devoted to demeaning other people
- creating fake profiles to hurt others
Aggressive individuals use the anonymity of digital interactions to harass and inflict emotional pain on their victims. Cyberbullies often strike their with text messages, social media, emails, communication apps, and websites.
This form of bullying is often more damaging than others because a victim can’t escape it. Our hyper-connected world allows a bully unlimited access to their victim. It also encourages peers to jump on the cruelty bandwagon as they like or comment on posts, which suggests to the victim that everyone agrees with the aggressor.
Canadian Cyberbullying Statistics
Cyberbullying is turning into an international epidemic and Canada is no exception.
According to a survey conducted by Kids Help Phone:
- 70% of kids ages 13–15 have been harassed online
- 44% of kidgs ages 13–15 have bullied someone at least once
- 89% of Canadian teachers view cyberbullying as their top concern
According to a study conducted by the University of British Columbia on teenagers:
- 51% have encountered a bad situation over social networking platforms
- 16% have had a compromising picture of themselves posted on social media or in a text message without their permission
- 64% view bullying as a natural part of growing up
- 20%–50% believe that bullying builds character because it encourages problem-solving and overcoming adversity
- 25%–33% believe that there are acceptable times to ridicule and bully others
Most children will hide or avoid alerting their parents to cyberbullying. If you suspect your child is a victim of cyberbullying, here are some signs to watch for in your son or daughter, from Fox Business. Take note if your child or teen:
- suddenly avoids social media
- stops using their cell phone or the computer
- shows distress regarding technology or devices
- frequently complains of stomach problems or feeling ill
- avoids friends and social settings
- becomes secretive and hides their online activity
- shows sudden changes in personality like depression or anger
- starts doing poorly in school
10 Tips to Protect Children From Cyberbullying
1. Teach assertiveness skills. Coach on ways to handle bullying and work on developing confidence.
2. Create safe havens in the home. Keep technology usage out in the open and designate at least one place in the house to be safe from cyberbullying.
3. Set a child’s privacy level and password with them. Be involved to ensure your teen’s information is not vulnerable to prying eyes.
4. Encourage your child to be selective with who they accept or invite as friends. Only allow people he or she actually interacts with the privilege of being a “friend”.
5. Teach them that, like all things in life, this stage won’t last. If a victim is feeling hopeless, remind them that one day this will be over and just a distant memory.
6. Use technology to archive evidence. Document a detailed account of the messages to help if intervention from the authorities is warranted.
7. If cyberbullying is a problem, only allow your child to open and view social media or messages with a parent.
8. If you use social media, try to keep embarrassing posts about your children off your profile.
9. Teach your child social media etiquette. Make sure your teen understands what topics and interactions are acceptable.
10. Seriously monitor digital activity. Take the necessary steps to safeguard your child by using an such as TeenSafe to view all the texts, messages, and interactions in one convenient location.
Cyberbullying can create a devastating ripple effect in a victim’s life. Parents need to be proactive and eradicate this epidemic head-on. Using awareness and open dialogue we can heal the ugly sores of cyberbullying by forwarding hope.