WHAT IS CYBERBULLYING?
Online bullying, also called Cyberbullying, can make you feel embarrassed, left out and hurt. It takes place through mobile phones, emails, instant messaging, online gaming, social networking and much more. It's important to remember that online bullying is still bullying, it's not new behaviour. It's where this behaviour takes place that is new.
It can include:
• Hurtful text messages
• Name calling on social networking pages
• Threats online
• Being targeted online because of who you are, or because someone thinks you are ‘different’
Technology allows us to connect and communicate with others in lots of different ways. It’s given us a new social space to hang out and make friends in. But like the other places we go to there are risks, and one of these is bullying.
UNDERSTANDING HOW WE COMMUNICATE ONLINE
Is a way of communicating with friends online; on websites like Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Tumblr. Your social networking profile is ‘your space’ and place of self-expression. Remember everything you post can be seen by a lot of people in a short amount of time. Lots of fall outs or problems that happen in school or in clubs carries on or even start on social networking sites; it’s just another place where these things happen.
When you accept someone as a friend, they can see all of your pictures and status updates and you can see theirs too. You should only connect with people you know and not with people who are mysterious or cool about their identity. Not everyone is who they say they are! Your page really should be made ‘private’ so that only ‘friends’ can access it. Another option is that your ‘friend’s friends’ can have access to your page, but this could mean that you receive messages from people you don’t know. If your profile is public, anyone can read it and write on it: anyone from parents, to teachers, to people who might have a grudge.
Using screen names/nicknames is a good way of not revealing too much personal information.
Remember if you put personal information online, others can see it!
Instant messaging gives people the opportunity to chat to each other in real time. Some popular instant messaging services are: Blackberry Messenger (better known as BBM), Skype, and MSN Messenger.
Instant messaging is usually on a 1-2-1 basis, but some let you have group instant chats. If you use your webcam, like during a Skype chat, remember someone at the other end could be recording what you say or do. Be careful if you decide to show or share a message or image with someone else, things can get passed around and become out of hand very quickly. We can all say things that we don’t mean in anger. But the impact may be worse if it’s written down, because it’s harder to take it back!
Remember that it’s easy to misunderstand what is written on a screen. Online rules exist for this reason, such as not TYPING IN CAPITALS as it could be seen as shouting. There are loads of codes you can use to shorten messages too.
YouTube allows you to watch, upload and share videos across the world. You can check out almost anything from movie clips to music videos.
Trolls is the name given to people who deliberately post horrible comments or questions on YouTube, Facebook, discussion boards and other sites to try cause trouble, wind people up and start arguments.
Videos uploaded and comments made can be reported to YouTube or to the police if they are threatening, racist, homophobic, sectarian etc. People who upload these videos or post these types of comments can be traced through their mobile phone SIM card or computer. Their actions could be breaking the law and these posts and videos can be used as evidence against them.
YouTube can be used to share videos quickly; incidents can be filmed and uploaded onto YouTube in minutes and can viewed by anyone.
Gaming is a huge past time for lots of people all over the world. It can be console-based (like X-box 360 or Playstation). Massively Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG’s) often transport players into a virtual world where hundreds of people can be playing at any one time. Some online multi-player games like World of Warcraft charge a monthly fee to play, while others like Guild Wars have no monthly fees.
When you are gaming online, what you say and how you act is important. There are lots of ways to experience bullying through online gaming; including being left out of games or being targeted by other players. If you sign up for online gaming and want to connect with new people, there‘s a code of conduct that you should play by - rules that let people know what is expected of them and how to safely report any problems.
BEING SAFE ONLINE
There are some things that should remember to help keep you safe online:
Online relationships are no different from relationships off-line
For some, the anonymity of being online can make people brave and they say things that they’d never say to a person’s face. Remember, people online are still real people and you should treat them with the same level of respect and consideration as you would if they were in the same room. If you wouldn’t say it, don’t send it!
Be respectful of other people’s privacy
Do not send messages, gossip or facts about other people or post photos without asking them first. You may think it’s funny to do this and post it for the world to see, but they may not feel the same way.
Never give away personal information
Don’t give out personal information about yourself or another person, their family or friends. This might include where they live, their phone numbers or private email addresses. It is also important never to give your private passwords to anyone, including friends or other people that you trust. They may inadvertently pass it on to other people who can then access your accounts and change information or send messages in your name.
There’s a history so it can be traced
Everything you send and post online or through text message can be stored somewhere. Even if you give a fake email account and information, you will have a unique IP address from your service provider. You can be traced through your IP address or SIM card.
Don’t use offensive language or act in a confrontational or abusive manner – it could come back to haunt you. Everything you post online can be seen by someone and you never know who’s reading it or who may copy it and send it on.
REPORTING ONLINE BULLYING
A lot of people don’t report online bullying because they’re worried that they will have their mobile or laptop taken off them. Some also worry that telling an adult will make things worse. But you should share these concerns with a person you can confide in.
All forms of bullying are wrong! Bullying can affect your school work, your family life and even how you feel about yourself. But there are things that you can do to help you feel in control again.
What can you do?
There are different ways of dealing with online bullying. These can include:
• Telling an adult you trust
• Telling a good friend
• Calling the ChildLine Bullying Line on 0800 44 1111 for confidential advice and support
• Asking them to stop! – the person cyberbullying you might not know that they are hurting you
• Being a good friend – if this is happening to someone you know being a good friend can make all the difference!
There are also some less positive ways of dealing with cyberbullying. These can include:
• Taking your anger out on others
• Doing things to hurt yourself
• Skipping school
There are also lots of practical things you can do if you experience online bullying:
• Take screen shots of nasty online messages
• Unfriend and block people from accessing your page
• Block numbers
• Check privacy settings
• Turn off… but this isn’t really a long term solution!
If you're being threatened in a sexual way or being pressured into doing something that you don't want to do, this is not bullying. There are laws to protect you from this type of behaviour.
FURTHER SUPPORT AND ADVICE
Childline Bullying Line
This is a free bullying helpline.
Opening times: Monday to Friday 11.30am -10pm; Saturday and Sunday 2pm -8pm
Telephone: 0800 44 1111
Call about anything that is worrying you: no issue is too big or too small. This a free 24 hour phone line for children and young people.
Telephone: 0800 1111
Click here for Childline website
SCCYP (Scotland’s Commissioner for Children & Young People)
Find out more about your rights and share your views with Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People.
Click here for SCCYP website
This is a social networking place where you can talk to mentors of your own age.
Click here for CyberMentors website
CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre)
Many sites have a report to CEOP button.
Click here for CEOP website