For most youth, the internet is all about socializing. While most of these social interactions are positive, increasing numbers of people are using the technology to intimidate and harass others. This month, let’s take on cyberbullying together. Take The Pledge and learn how to help prevent cyberbullying below.
Local Champion: Melissa Kinghorn
Over ten years ago, Melissa Kinghorn lost her sister to suicide after she was bullied online. Now Melissa travels around Windsor-Essex talking to students about the importance of knowing what to do when they see someone being bullied or if they experience it themselves. Melissa aims to build a skillset in students so they know how to use social media responsibly.
Take The Pledge
*Don’t want to leave your name? No problem! Just call yourself an Upstander or Peacekeeper instead!
Forms of Cyberbullying:
Sending mean messages or threats to a person’s email account or cell phone
Spreading rumours online or through texts
Posting hurtful or threatening messages on social networking sites or web pages
Stealing a person’s account information to break into their account and send damaging messages
Pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person
Taking unflattering pictures of a person and spreading them through cell phones or the Internet
Sexting, or circulating sexually suggestive pictures or messages about a person
Wish you Could Take it Back?
NeedHelpNow.ca provides resources to those kids who have made less-than-wise decisions and how to deal with the aftermath of sending inappropriate images of themselves and to know There is Help Out There!
What can you do to help?
Talks to teens about cyber bullying, explaining that it is wrong and can have serious consequences. Make a rule that teens may not send mean or damaging messages, even if someone else started it, or suggestive pictures or messages or they will lose their cell phone and computer privileges for a time.
Teens should not share anything through text or instant messaging on their cell phone or the Internet that they would not want to be made public - remind teens that the person they are talking to in messages or online may not be who they think they are, and that things posted electronically may not be secure.
Encourage teens never to share personal information online or to meet someone they only know online.
Keep the computer in a shared space like the family room, and do not allow teens to have Internet access in their own rooms.
Parents may want to wait until high school to allow their teens to have their own email and cell phone accounts, and even then parents should still have access to the accounts.
Encourage teens to tell an adult if cyber bullying is occurring. Tell them if they are the victims they will not be punished, and reassure them that being bullied is not their fault.
Teens should never tell their password to anyone except a parent, and should not write it down in a place where it could be found by others.
Teens should keep cyber bullying messages as proof that the cyber bullying is occurring. The teens' parents may want to talk to the parents of the cyber bully, to the bully's Internet or cell phone provider, and/or to the police about the messages, especially if they are threatening or sexual in nature.
Try blocking the person sending the messages. It may be necessary to get a new phone number or email address and to be more cautious about giving out the new number or address.
Encourage teens to have times when they turn off the technology, such as at family meals or after a certain time at night.
TAKING ACTION – BEFORE AND AFTER IT HAPPENS:
Flood the Feed by adding more positive photos and messages to a site to ‘bury’ a negative comment or photo.
Limit Access by not allowing third party apps to access your contact information, location, photos or personal profile information.
Use Print Screen or Copy to capture an image or text to save evidence of digital abuse.
Disable Location Services in your photos – they carry embedded location information (geotagging), making you easier to find.
Cover Your Webcam Lens because some viruses can remotely activate your webcam.
Only Add Friends You Know In Real Life. Ask someone sending you a friend request a ‘skill-testing question’ to prove they really are who they say they are.
Report It. Many schools and websites have anonymous reporting features.
Sort Your Friend List on Facebook by family, close friends an acquaintances so you can share your status updates with the right audience.
Learn more at: mediasmarts.ca