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Cyber Bullying

Traditional bullying involves tormenting victims face to face—at school, on the playground, in sports. But now, cyber bullying (or online bullying) opens the door to 24-hour harassment through computers, mobile phones, game consoles, or other Internet-enabled technologies.

How does it work?

The anonymity offered by the internet facilitates online bullying, allowing the bully to communicate directly with the victim while making it difficult to track their identity. Bullies can create web sites that insult or humiliate other people, such as setting up online polls with themes like: "Vote for the ten ugliest people in school."

This type of bullying may not be limited to school or indeed children, in fact adults at work are capable of carrying out cyber bullying. They may gossip via email about other colleagues in a derogatory way.

What risk does it pose?

Cyber bullying amongst children can be a difficult activity to stop as it involves constant awareness of a child’s activities online. Victims of such bullying can experience psychological trauma that can damage confidence and affect life at home and at school.

For businesses, the reputation of the company can be damaged if derogatory websites or insulting polls are leaked to the outside world. The company may also face legal action if they fail to preserve an employee’s right to work in a safe and secure environment.

What to do?

• Identify and Block
Identify who is cyber bullying your child, block any further communications.
• Set Boundaries
You, not your kids, should also contact the bully (or bullies) and demand that the offending behaviour stop.
• Contact the School
If you know the bully attends the same school as your child, teachers and administrators might be able to help.
• Contacting service providers
Video/photo sharing sites may remove content you report as being in appropriate or in violation of your privacy
• Talk with your kids about what is acceptable
Kids are often reluctant to tell parents about cyber bullying or anything else that goes on online for fear parents will only make things worse. Others feel that what they do on the Internet is "private." Nothing could be further from the truth: Parents should ensure children know that the Internet is a public space and once information is shared it’s shared forever.

• Approach the person in your workplace and highlight their behaviour. Explain that you find it hostile and offensive.
• Clearly state to them that you wish them to stop as you would like a good working relationship with them.
Alternatively make a note of the behaviour and its effects and seek out someone in HR or a manager.
• Remember - accusing someone of bullying is a serious thing and so should be done with great care.

How can I avoid it from happening?

• Keep your home computer in a central location.
• Talk to your kids often about how they use the internet
• Ensure your kids know to keep their personal information private
• As a manager, ensure staff are given acceptable usage training with regards to the internet at work.

Top Tips

• Be involved with your child’s internet use.
• Keep the home machine in a central and visible area
• Keep abreast of the latest trends in social networking.
• Ensure acceptable usage training is performed and practiced in the workplace.


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