Wednesday, October 12th has come to be known as National Stop Bullying Day. A little brief history for you:
‘In 2009, eighteen sixth-grade students from St. Stanislaus Kostka declared October National Stop Bullying Month, the second week of October National Stop Bullying Week, and Stop Bullying Day on the second Wednesday of October.’
While originally motivated to prevent bullying towards children, the advent of cyberbullying, bleeding into other arenas like the workplace, has actually given rein to anti-bullying for people of all ages.
When did bullying become cyberbullying? The move from physical bullying to cyberbullying really got underway in the 2010s, when smartphones became mainstream and social media platform accessibility exploded. Anyone anywhere can view, post and comment online – and as such, it’s opened users up to being extremely vulnerable.
What is cyberbullying? Stopbullying.gov defines cyberbullying as ‘bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets.’
Cyberbullying involves sending, posting, commenting or sharing derogatory, false, or nasty content about someone, whether it’s text or images, in order to deliberately harm or humiliate them. It can often be done anonymously, using a fake profile, or by internet ‘trolls’. With new awareness of the harm it can inflict, these days cyberbullying may cross the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.
Where can cyberbullying occur?
Unfortunately, there are many outlets for cyberbullying:
🙁 SMS, and other messaging services
🙁 Social media platforms e.g. Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
🙁 Chatrooms or other forums where people can view, participate in, or share content.
🙁 Connected online games
As parents or teachers, one of the most worrying things about cyberbullying is that it can be happening under our noses and we may not even know. Class WhatsApp groups, your child’s social media accounts, online chat rooms – unless you are constantly supervising every single message or photo that enters your child’s phone (which let’s be honest, they may not appreciate), it’s not so easy to detect if someone is being harassed or bullied.
What can you do to commemorate National Stop Bullying Day? You may see the hashtag #StopBullyingDay trending on social media – join the conversation and get informed about the dangers of bullying in all its forms – and how to recognize where and when it may be happening.
This may also be the time to rethink what we as parents can do to prevent cyberbullying in all of its forms. Using a parental control app that can identify offensive keywords or images, and alert you if such a thing occurs, is an important step to take in defense against cyberbullying.
FamilyKeeper was developed with these challenges in mind – providing parents with peace of mind that their child can navigate the internet without being susceptible, in a safe, age-appropriate way.
For further information on FamilyKeeper, or to download the app, visit the Google Play Store.
If you have other concerns, or are looking for advice surrounding cyberbullying, you are most welcome to join Digital World Parenting – an online discussion forum for parents, where you can get expert advice, and join the conversation regarding all parenting issues in the cyber world.