We Need to Talk About Online Bullying

It’s no secret that the internet allows us to browse, communicate, shop, watch; pretty much lose ourselves into an infinite digital kingdom bursting with content. We can receive social media on computers, phones, tablets…even smart fridges now! In the 21st century, it is actually very hard to not find somewhere that allows us to connect to our favourite websites and dog-videos.

Unfortunately, there are those who might use social media and other internet outlets as a platform to insult, offend and bully others or ‘Cyber-bully’.
Though cyber-bullying prevention has taken great strides in recent years, there are those still subject to the horrible feeling of being tormented and intimidated.

According to the website internetmatters.org, ‘One in Five 13-18-year olds’ have experienced a form of cyberbullying.

“Cyberbullying” can take the form of;
– Threatening and intimidating behaviour
– Discrimination and harassment
– Posting personal details/information and harmful content to a person
– Theft of identity and information
– Posting photos/videos/content about another person

A huge problem when controlling cyberbullying is how bullying can be done ‘anonymously’ and take place at any time. Though some outlets are patrolled with security teams, social media websites can be a perfect target for cyberbullies due to the anonymity of posting comments and sending messages.

Every year we read about individuals of all ages harming and taking their own lives due to online abuse. The heart-breaking story of 12-year old Jessica Scatterson who took her own life due to online pressures in 2017 is one of many unthinkable tragedies from people being influenced from online pressures.

These stories are what encouraged this piece, to outreach to both internet users, parents, carers, friends; to think about just what we and others may be experiencing online.

Internetmatters.org recommend for parents to talk to their children about social media and explore these websites themselves to improve their own understanding.

Childline encourage those being bullied to confide in a trusted adult to take further steps in prevention and contact appropriate services (I have linked below).

The emotional impact on being bullied is huge and though internet and social media has given us the power to connect and share like never before, we must remain vigilant in our awareness to online threats and protecting those who may be victims of cyberbullying. Today, safeguarding extends further than just face-to-face awareness. Bullying is always wrong, and we must treat it with seriousness and communicate with our friends, family, colleagues and children.

If you know someone who is Cyber-bullying or being Cyber-bullied, speak to them or report it.

To find out more try these links:
https://www.gov.uk/bullying-at-school/reporting-bullying
https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/bullying-abuse-safety/types-bullying/online-bullying/

Cyberbullying


Richard is a Psychotherapist in Preston. You can contact him on 07572277943 or at
www.rbpsychotherapy.co.uk.

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