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Cyberbullying: The New Age Threat Putting Young People at Risk

Filed in Uncategorized by on June 20, 2017 0 Comments


What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying or cyber-harassment, is a form of bullying which takes place online. It most commonly occurs through social media and is an increasing concern amongst children and teenagers – 45% of young people experience bullying before the age of 18. According to the Anti-Bullying Alliance ‘Disabled children and those with special educational needs (SEN) are more likely to experience cyberbullying.’ The Alliance’s 2014 study also discovered that “many of the young people are using the internet to create an anonymous persona to mask their disability. Others were actively avoiding going online.”

There are several types of cyberbullying:

  • Harassment – the sending of offensive and insulting messages, these can be nasty or humiliating comments on photos, posts or in chat rooms.
  • Denigration – this could be in the form of rumors, when someone sends information that is damaging or false about another person. It could also be sharing photos to humiliate someone.
  • Flaming – when an individual purposely goes out of their way to cause a fight or an argument by using extreme and offensive language
  • Impersonation – when an individual hacks into another person’s email or social media account to use that person’s identity
  • Outing and Trickery – someone may share personal information about another or trick someone into revealing secrets and forwarding it to someone else.
  • Cyber Stalking – making a person afraid of his or her safety by continuously sending abusive or threatening messages.
  • Exclusion – when others intentionally leave someone out of a group either by a group chat, gaming sites or any other online engagement.

Legislation and Statistics

Different nations in the UK have their own legislation, policy and guidance. In England, under The Education Act 2002, it places a duty on school governing bodies to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in their care. So, why do we still hear about bullying in schools?

Although bullying is on a gradual decrease, cyberbullying is certainly on the rise. Over the last three years, there has been an 87% increase in the amount of ChildLine’s counselling sessions revolving around cyber-harassment.  7 in 10 young people aged between 13 and 22 have been victim of this form of bullying. The effects can lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and even self-harm. It can even lead to problems later in adult life. Teachers have said that they are ‘ill-equipped to deal with the effects of bullying’. So, what can be done at home to help with your child’s wellbeing?

Tips for parents when dealing with cyberbullying

  • Talk about it – find the right time to take a minute to speak with them
  • Show your support – be calm and considerate when offering your support. Let them know that you’ll be there for them
  • Don’t stop them going online – removing their devices or limiting their usage may make your child feel isolated or make matters worse
  • Help them deal with it – if the issue is amongst school friends, urge them to speak to the person and get them to tell them how it made them feel. Ask to take any comments or pictures down
  • Don’t retaliate – advise your child not to respond to messages and to leave conversations if they feel uncomfortable
  • Block bullies – if the abusive messages are repeatedly sent, block and report
  • Keep the evidence – take screenshots in case you need them for proof later
  • Don’t deal with it alone – talk to friends for support and if necessary, speak to your child’s school who has an ant bullying policy
  • Know when to take it further – sometimes, it can be extreme and dangerous, in this case, maybe consider informing the police
  • Don’t stop when the bullying does – keep up to date with your child and ensure that they are okay, if not, perhaps consider counselling in extreme cases

Tips for young people when experiencing cyberbullying 

  • Report it – start by talking to your parents or guardians about the issue, unless you report it, it is unlikely to stop. The school has a responsibility to protect its students from bullying. Ask your parents to schedule a meeting with your teacher. Threatening phone calls or messages may be illegal and can be reported to the local police.
  • Prevent it – don’t respond, as this will only make matters worse. Blocking the culprits on social networking sites such as Facebook or Instagram is also a good way to tackle the situation. Always, always, think before you post. What you post can be seen by millions of other people, so respect your online presence.

Our Resilience Campaign offers support to help disadvantaged children in Suffolk. The project aims to raise funds for 20+ young people from the age of 6 – 13 who have experienced the risk of bullying, neglect, abuse and radicalism. To help support our campaign, visit our Just Giving page:

For more information on our ‘Resilience’ Campaign, visit:

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