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Personal Space

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is using technology to deliberately and repeatedly bully someone. By reporting it, talking about it and supporting each other we can stop it.

Cyberbullying can include:
  • Abusive texts and emails
  • Hurtful messages, images or videos
  • Imitating others online to set them up
  • Excluding others online
  • Nasty online gossip and chat.
How do I deal with cyberbullying?
  • Talk to someone you trust straight away—like a parent, sibling, uncle/aunty, teacher or friend
  • Don’t retaliate or respond—they might use it against you
  • Block the bully and change your privacy settings
  • Report the abuse to the service and get others to as well
  • Collect the evidence—keep mobile phone messages and print emails or social networking conversations
  • Remember you didn’t ask for this—nobody deserves to be bullied.
To have a free and confidential talk with an experienced Kids Helpline counsellor, visit the KidsHelpline website or give them a call on 1800 55 1800.

What if a friend is being bullied online?

If you know a friend or someone at school is being cyberbullied:
  • Don’t join in—don’t comment on posts, images or videos that will hurt others
  • Don’t forward or share posts, images or videos that will hurt others
  • Leave negative groups and conversations
  • Report bullying to someone that can help—this can be an anonymous report to a parent or teacher
  • If you are confident, call others on their bullying and ask them to stop—“Enough. This isn’t funny.”
  • Support your friend—let them know you are there for them—”I heard about those crap posts. I’m here for you”

Am I a cyberbully?

Sometimes it can be easy to fall into a trap of feeling like you need to defend yourself aggressively, like you need to be the most popular, or needing acceptance online by pointing out other people’s flaws. You might even be trying to hurt someone on purpose. These actions might seem innocent or you might think that you’re ‘just joking’ but they can really affect the experiences other people have online.

By making other people feel upset, excluded or scared, you are not only affecting them, but you are also showing the world what kind of person you. There are better ways to gain respect, popularity, strength and social standing! Be a part of positive conversations, regardless of differences in opinion.
If you think you might have cyberbullied someone, you should consider apologising. You don’t need to like the person, but it is important to respect other people’s opinions and differences. If you would like to have a free, non-judgmental and confidential talk to an experienced counsellor, contact the Kids Helpline or give them a call on 1800 55 1800.
Source: www.cybersmart.gov.au

Trolling

Trolling is when a user intentionally causes distress by posting inflammatory comments on a public forum.

You can protect yourself and others against trolling by taking the following actions:

  • Ignore the troll - Don't respond to nasty, immature or offensive comments. Giving trolls the attention they want only gives them more power.
  • Block the troll - Take away their power by blocking them. If they pop up under a different name, block them again.
  • Report trolls - Report trolls to site administrators. If they pop up under a different name, report them again. If they continue, contact the police.
  • Talk with family and friends - If a troll upsets you, talk about it with friends and family and remember, it's not you, it's them.
  • Protect friends from trolls -If trolls are upsetting a friend, tell them to ignore, block and report. Tell their family and other friends and encourage them to seek support.
Source: www.cybersmart.gov.au

What can parents do?


For many teens, their online life is an important part of their social identity. Many teens fear that parents might disconnect them from the internet and therefore their supportive friends as a ‘solution’ to cyberbullying. This prevents some teens from reporting cyberbullying issues. Some teens are also concerned that parents will make cyberbullying issues worse.

You can help your teenager by:

  • Talking to them about cyberbullying before it happens. Work out strategies to address cyberbullying that you are both comfortable with, so your teen knows what to expect if they do report concerns to you or another trusted adult. Reassure them that you are will be there to support them and won’t disconnect them from their online world.
  • Encouraging them to tell you or another trusted adult if they receive or hear of negative messages, or are excluded by others. Help them stay connected to trusted friends and family both online and offline. This is an important protective measure against the potentially negative outcomes of bullying.
  • Advising your teen not to respond to any negative messages but to save the messages and details of the senders. You may want to save the messages for your teen so that they don’t keep reading them and potentially feel worse.
  • You can help your teen report any concerns to the administrator of the service used, including the mobile phone provider (if SMS is involved), website administrator (if social networking or chat services are involved), or internet service provider.
  • Understanding your school’s policy about cyberbullying—do they have a policy and what is the likely outcome of a complaint about cyberbullying if another student is involved.
  • Encouraging your teen to support their friends and report concerns about friends who may be involved in cyberbullying.
  • Advising your teen never to share their password with friends—friendships may be short-lived at this age and former friends can mis-use passwords to cyberbully.
If your teen has been involved in cyberbullying and seems distressed or shows changes in behaviour or mood it may be advisable to seek professional support, including through the Cybersmart
Online Helpline at www.cybersmart.gov.au. The Cybersmart Online Helpline provides free, confidential online counselling for children and young people. Your teen’s schools may also be able to provide support and guidance.

If there is a threat to your teen’s safety the police can help. In life threatening and time critical situations call Triple Zero (000).


Sources: Cybersmart, Australian Government, Queensland Government and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Did you know….?

Australian research shows:
  • More females report being cyberbullying victims than males - and 14-year-olds most frequently report experiencing both face-to-face and cyber bullying
  • The majority of victims and those who bully them know each other in real life. Most victims and those who bully also go to the same school, are the same gender and describe themselves as friends—not acquaintances
  • 25% of young people who cyberbully target people they don't know
  • MSN, social networking, texting, email and chat are the mediums most commonly used by young people who cyberbully.
Of young Australians aged 12 to 17:
  • Just over 1 in 2 ‘worry about someone hacking into their page' on a social networking website
  • Just under half ‘worry about getting upsetting personal emails, comments or chat messages'
  • Just over a third worry about what others know about them from their social networking service page.

Sources:
Thanks to the Queensland Police Service and the publications Who’s chatting to your kids? www.police.qld.gov.au
www.cybersmart.gov.au for advice on safe internet surfing and fun activities for kids



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