With the tragic news of yet another teen suicide as a result of cyber bullying, we need to talk with our teenagers about being safe online.

What is Cyber Bullying?

  • It is bullying carried out using Internet, mobile phone.
  • It is psychological rather than physical
  • Horrible  messages/posts, e mails, photos, pictures
  • Setting yourself up as someone else in a text message and being nasty
  • Using someone else’s accounts to make trouble for them
  • A once off incident is not bullying, but if it is sustained, repeated and deliberate it is.

Cyber bullying on Facebook

is used:

  • To intimidate
  • To impersonate by the setting up of a fake profile
  • To exclude or block a person
  • To humiliate someone by posting something to embarrass them

Cyber Bullying Safety to avoid 24/7 intimidation

The difference with cyber bullying is that the contact is 24/7, traditional bullying meant that home was a safe haven, now there is no safe haven as bullying comes into the phone, I touch or I pad at night and into your bedroom,  and parents may be unaware that this is happening. When a comment is put up on Facebook, the speed of contact and the audience is huge.

Example of Cyber Bullying

Yesterday, I watched a video of a father whose son had committed suicide asking for people to ‘speak up’ as this may have saved his son’s life. Failure to speak up otherwise results in unintentional complicity and the victim may not know the bully and can be suspicious of everyone and feel no one can be trusted. Teenagers questioned say they don’t speak up as they are afraid that they may be the bully’s next target.

Cyber Bulling Safety Tips

Parents need to tell their teenagers that they are responsible for their actions and accountable for whatever happens. As a parent, no matter how much you want to turn back the clock you can’t and teens need to know therefore that the moment, the very moment they decide to hit the SEND or POST button that they will have to deal with the results of their actions.

Cyber Bullying Stories teach us valuable lessons

  • Do not respond
  • Tell them ‘it’s not your fault’
  • Keep the evidence
  • Tell an adult
  • Block the sender
  • Report (Gardaí/Mobile phone operator)

Tips for Cyber Bullying Safety

  • Keep technology in open space for monitoring
  • Empower your teen to report
  • Discuss bullying behaviour with your teen
  • Understand your teens online behaviour
  • Ensure their Facebook profile is ‘private’
  • Don’t post personal information (address/school etc.)
  • Think before you post as you cannot get that photo back