What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using technology. Whether on social media sites, through a mobile phone, or gaming sites, the effects can be devastating for the child involved. There are ways to help prevent cyberbullying and to help children cope and stop the bullying if it does happen.
Parents and carers need to be aware that most children will be involved in cyberbullying in some way, either as a victim, perpetrator, or bystander. By its very nature, cyberbullying tends to involve a number of online bystanders and can quickly spiral out of control. Children who bully others online do not need to physically stronger and their methods can often be hidden and subtle.
Cyberbullying can also involve adults, and has led to some teachers becoming victims. A conversation on the school gate between a few parents can now become a conversation with perhaps hundreds of ‘friends’ on social networking sites. Whilst parents have a right to be critical of decisions made by schools, they should raise concerns in an appropriate way and not become abusive, or libellous.
At Crowle Primary Academy we are committed to keeping our children safe both inside and outside the academy. We aim to provide a supportive, caring and safe environment that allows children to learn without fear of being bullied.
Bullying of any kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. If bullying does occur, parents and children should be confident that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively.
The following are some things that parents may wish to consider teaching their children about using the internet safely:
· Make sure you use the privacy settings and parental control settings.
· Always respect others—be careful what you say online and use appropriate language.
· Be careful what pictures or videos you upload. Once a picture has been shared online it cannot be taken back.
· Only add people you know and trust to friends / followers lists online. When talking to strangers, keep your personal information safe and location hidden.
· Treat your password like a toothbrush—keep it to yourself and change it regularly.
· Block the bully—learn how to block or report someone who is behaving badly.
· Do not retaliate or reply to offending emails, text messages or online conversations.
· Save the evidence. Always keep a copy of offending emails, text messages or a screen grab of online conversations and pass on to a parent or teacher.
· Make sure you tell an adult you trust, for example a parent, a carer, a teacher, TA or Learning Mentor or call a helpline like Childline on 08001111 in confidence.
· Most social media services and other sites have a button you can click on to report bullying.
· We teach the children all these things as part of our curriculum.
Most Social Networks have a minimum age restriction, usually age thirteen. Parents should talk to their children about the reasons behind the age restriction as they are there for a reason. Accessing such sites too early can expose children to unnecessary bullying.
Possible Signs of Cyberbullying
It is not always easy to spot the signs of cyberbullying. Be alert to a change in your child’s behaviour, for example:
· Being upset after using the internet or their mobile phone.
· Unwilling to talk or secretive about their online activities and mobile phone use.
· Spending much more or much less time texting, gaming or using social media.
· Many new phone numbers, texts or email addresses show up on their mobile phone, laptop or tablet.
· After texting or being online they may seem withdrawn, upset or outraged.
· Not wanting to go to school and/or avoiding meeting friends and school mates.
· Avoiding formerly enjoyable social situations.
· Difficult sleeping.
· Low self-esteem.
What to do
If you suspect a child is being harassed or bullied, ask them to give you details. If your child tells you that someone is bothering them online, take it seriously. Offer practical as well as emotional support. Print out the evidence for future reference. Look at the advice and links over the page. Do not respond to the cyberbully or try to take the law into your own hands. Talk to a teacher at our academy and we can support and help deal with the issue.
Remember Anna, the Headteacher is on the gate in the morning and Jane, our Learning Mentor is available for you to talk to anytime.
Suggested websites to support families:
Organisations that provide support:
DFE Website (Ref: DFE-00655-2014)
The Anti-Bullying Alliance
Childline, NSPCC, Childnet
The Diana Award, Internet Matters
UK Safer Internet Centre
The academy’s full Internet Policy, Computing Policy and Anti-Bullying Policy can be viewed on our website.