Internet safety tips from the Ascentive team
A Cyber-bully uses the Internet, cell phone, or other device to send or post text or images to try to hurt or embarrass other people. Whether it’s sending hurtful text messages and images or posting cruel comments on the Internet, cyber-bullying can have a seriously harmful effect on a child. Nasty comments, lies, and embarrassing photos and videos can be spread throughout the Internet by texting and by posts on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, or even Google+.
A recent survey conducted by Edith Cowan University revealed that up to 10 per cent of children say they have experienced cyber-bullying either online or via mobile phones. In the US, 50 percent of young people were being cyber-bullied and about 30 per cent reported they cyber-bullied others. And in the United Kingdom and Canada, the statistics were 25 percent.
One reason why there is such a staggering rise in cyber-bullying is that many Internet users still think they are anonymous and untraceable online. The same study highlights that the Cyber-bullying experiences was frequently anonymous, with 50 per cent of victims not knowing who was doing the bullying. The cyber bullies often mistakenly believe that it’s impossible to identify someone hiding behind an anonymous email account.
Most kids on their social networking sites or through chat clients have been bullied at one point in time. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be tolerated. Here are a few things you can do if your child has been cyber-bullied:
First of all, explain to your child that they shouldn’t retaliate. Tell them to save any hurtful emails or text messages to a folder for your review. You can also use an email filter and arrange for all the messages from the cyber-bully to go to a special folder, and then forward it on to the mail provider.
Second, have your child put social networking sites on private settings. This means that only approved people can view and leave comments on the profile. Be sure to also remind your children to keep their passwords safe, and not to share secrets, photos, or anything online that might be embarrassing.
Third, teach your child to not talk to anonymous people online. And instruct your children never to pretend to be someone they are not in chat rooms, IM’ing, in blogs, or on social networking sites.
Finally, there are private investigators that specialize in Internet email tracing and cyber-bullying identifications. These investigators can track down, and identify the cyber-bully. Then by documenting their investigation and their results they can create a report that can be used in court to prosecute the cyber-bully that has crossed over the legal lines.