TOP TEN TIPS TO PREVENT AND DEAL WITH CYBER -BULLYING
1. INFORM YOURSELF
Read your child’s mobile phone manual and take note of how to contact the phone’s service provider should it be necessary to make a complaint.
2. MAKE SURE YOUR CHILD OR TEEN UNDERSTANDS THE IMPORTANCE OF INTERNET & MOBILE SAFETY STRATEGIES. Don’t take it for granted that your child or teen knows how to avoid the pitfalls of electronic communication. Warn them of the dangers of putting photos of themselves on the internet or to share their name, address, phone number and other personal information online. Ask them would they put the same information in a shop window as they pass around amongst their peers.
3. INFORM YOURSELF ABOUT BLOCKING DEVICES
The vMad Bully Stop application allows your child and teenager to control who calls or sends them texts and enables you and your child to view the content of any blocked text.
4. ENCOURAGE OPEN AND NON-JUDGEMENTAL COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR CHILD AND TEENAGER. Talk to your child about their online friends and activities in the same way as you would their traditional friendships and activities. Ask if they have seen abusive and hurtful texts or postings. Ask them what they do if they did. If there is anything you do not understand about their mobile phone or internet activities ask them to show you.
5. KEY ADVICE FOR YOUR CHILD OR TEENAGER IF TARGETED
- Do not feel ashamed. The shame lies with the perpetrator
- Don’t reply to abusive or hurtful messages
- Save the message
- Report the threatening or offensive behaviour to parent or teacher and/or contact the service provider (through its Customer Care or Report Abuse facility). If the cyber-bullying is very threatening and serious contact your local Gardai
- Block the sender
6. SHARE EVIDENCE OF CYBER-BULLYING WITH THE SCHOOL
Most cyber-bullyers also engage in traditional face to face bullying so it is important that the school is informed so they can apprehend the perpetrators. With cyber-bullying you will have the advantage of being able to show copies of the offensive messages, pictures or video clips used to humiliate or embarrass.
7. MAKE SURE YOUR CHILD AND TEENAGER UNDERSTANDS THAT YOU DISAPPROVE OF CYBER-BULLYING
It is important that children and teens learn to respect each other so they should be told to avoid engaging in cyber-bullying for whatever reason. It is vital also that you try to find out the reasons for their cyber-bullying behaviour so you can help them overcome it.
8. ADMINISTER CONSEQUENCES FOR BREAKING THE RULES OF CYBER-SAFETY
If necessary apply ‘the yellow card, red card’ philosophy and as a corrective measure reduce their allowance for mobile phone credit or the time spent on the computer.
9. HAVE YOUR CHILD OR TEEN UNDERSTAND THAT CYBER-BULLYING CAN LEAD TO A CRIMINAL OFFENCE
Any text-message or internet communication that is grossly threatening, offensive or harasses another person could be investigated by the Gardaí and result in prosecution.
10. KEEP UP TO-DATE WITH THE ADVANCES IN ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION
Do not be afraid to show your ignorance. Listen and learn from your child and teenager and together you can log onto websites to learn about the positive uses of electronic communication as well as the most effective strategies to prevent and tackle bullying and cyber-bullying.