It is vital that parents/carers and KAA work together to safeguard our students, to educate them on the dangers that come with being online and be aware of the repercussions that come with being involved in cyber bullying directly or on the periphery.
Cyberbullying is bullying through the use of communication technology like mobile phone text messages, social media apps, e-mails or websites. This can take many forms, for example:
- Sending threatening or abusive text/instant messages or e-mails, personally or anonymously.
- Making insulting comments about someone on website, social networking site (e.g. Facebook, Instagram and snapchat) or online (blog or YouTube).
- Making or sharing derogatory, inflammatory or embarrassing videos of someone via mobile phone or email such as (‘Happy Slapping’ videos or physical/verbal assaults).
Cyber bullying is a critical issue which can be harmful for the young person involved. It is important that parents and carers understand the way young people communicate with others, the potential risks and implications of online behaviour.
Signs of cyber bullying
- Secretive behaviour as you approach the computer, such as rapidly switching screens, and for attempts to hide online behaviour, such as empty file history.
- Appears nervous when receiving a text, instant message, or email
- Difficulty sleeping
- Unexplained weight loss and gain
- Spending much more or much less time texting, gaming or using social media
- Low self-esteem
- Avoiding formerly enjoyable from social events
- Not wanting to go to school and/or avoiding meeting friends and school mates
- Suddenly behaving differently at home
- Not doing as well in school
The following guidelines outline how parents/carers can talk to their child about online safety;
- Always use privacy settings
- Always respect others – be careful what you say online
- Be careful what pictures and videos you upload. Once a picture or video is shared online it cannot be taken back.
- Only add people you know and trust to friends/followers list online. When talking to strangers, keep your personal information safe and location hidden.
- Save the evidence. Always keep a copy of offending emails, text messages or a screen grab of online conversations and pass to a parent, a carer or a teacher.
- Make sure you tell an adult you trust if you experience cyber bullying, for example a parent, a carer, or a teacher or the safeguarding lead or call a helpline on 0800 1111 in confidence
- Learn the functions of how to block someone
- Most social media services and other sites have a button you can click on to report bullying. Doing this can prevent a bully from targeting you and others in the future.
Advice to Parents/Carers
Cyberbullying can be really difficult for a child to deal with therefore it is important that parents/carers keep calm and listen to their child about any concerns they may be experiencing. It is important to regularly check in with your child, contact external organisations that can provide help and support and contact KAA.
E-safety at Home
- Discuss with your child about what sites and apps they like and explore them together
- Discuss with your child about what sites and apps are age-appropriate
- Be positive about what you see online but also be open about any concerns that you may have as a parent/carer
- Keep the computer in a public place in the house
Parent controls are software and tools which you can install on your phone or tablet, game consoles or laptops and your home broadband. Parent controls help you to:
- Plan what time of day your child can go online and how long for
- Stop them from downloading apps they are too young for
- Manage the content different members of the family can see
- Help you to block or filter the content you see when your searching online
There are always different methods to keep your child safe online. KAA will ensure that all parents and carers are informed of the procedures in place in the behaviour policy to deal with all forms of bullying including cyber-bullying.
It is essential that all parents and carers are involved in resolving the issues that stem from cyber bullying because this can help to strengthen their child’s self-confidence and restore a sense of emotional safety. Important and useful information can be found on the following sites to provide support to parents, carers and children:
Cybersmile Foundation: https://www.cybersmile.org/
NSPCC: www.nspcc.org.uk- 0808 800 5002
The Anti-Bullying Alliance: www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk
Young Minds: https://youngminds.org.uk/