Cyber Bullying can be one of the most insidious forms of bullying and harassment. Modern technology is developing even more ways through new messaging apps and new features for bullies to hide their harassment and identity.
Acting on cyber bullying sooner rather than later is preferable, if your child is the victim they need to feel that they can come to you as soon as something awful happens to them online or through a messaging app.
It is repeated cruel behaviour used to intimidate, embarrass and harass over any telephone or Internet connection. It can be anything from name calling to uploading embarrassing photos, passing information or photos of you or your family, or interfering with your content in anyway online without your consent and in such a way to harass.
How Do I Find Out Who Is Doing This?
You may not know who is harassing you or your family member, getting hard evidence can be difficult if the bully is tech savvy. They may hide their real identity though fake accounts or use messaging apps with disappearing messages, making it hard to get some physical evidence.
Make sure you don’t delete any messages received. Save messages or posts and take screen shots or use another digital device to take a picture of the message before it disappears. For Snapchat messages, the sender will be alerted via an alert to any “screen shot” of their message. So using a seperate camera or digital device to record the message is preferable. Don’t open the message until you or another person has the digital camera ready to take the pics, the message may only be visible for a few seconds.
Deleting Social Media
For child victims taking them off all social media and blocking messaging might seem like a essential way to protect them for now. But if the child feels that they will be isolated and cut off from their trusted friends, it might be better to shut down old accounts and set up some more private, secret accounts that are only shared with trusted family and friends.
You can also put some social media accounts in “hibernation” for a while, take them offline to prevent the bullies from using them to further harass. You may have to activate them again in 30 days to keep them.
Setting up secure privacy and safety settings on all social media and messaging for the victim and their family is essential. Nothing you or your child shares must be public or easily obtained through “friends of friends”. Any posts shared by family members or the victim might be used to humiliate or bully. You may need to switch to another new temporary phone, with a new number and new I.D. Create new user accounts for the operating system. My manual “Keeping Kids Safe Online” or the Student one “Keeping You Safe Online” has extensive security and privacy settings for Social Media and Messaging.
Make sure your child doesn’t re-friend all their old friends, or they might be found again even with a temporary pseudonym
Steps To deal with Cyber Bullying:
- Do not retaliate in anyway either verbally or in text
- Keep evidence of the bullying by copying the content and saving it before it can be deleted. If on a computer take a screen shot by clicking the Prt Sc SudRq Key (usually top right 3rd key from right on any Windows Computer). Or on Macintosh Command-Shift-4, then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it as a file on the desktop. Use a camera if unable to screen shot.
- Report the bullying to the platform it is hosted on if appropriate, do a search for how to report if not sure
- Block the Cyber Bully after evidence is obtained (find the blocking tools on each software)
- If harassment is via SMS don’t delete the messages. You can take screen shots on iPhones by clicking the off/on switch and home or volume up button simultaneously for a second.
- Report the cyber bullying to a trusted adult or person of authority. Report to School principle or authority in writing, and keep a copy.
- If its illegal (identity theft, death threats, stalking, harassment) report it to your local police.
- Image based abuse is a form of cyber bullying and is illegal. Find out where to report and what you can do about it at the eSafety Commissioners website.
How To Report –
Report to the platform i.e Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Kik Messenger etc.. List of contacts for most major platforms and messaging apps at this link https://cyberbullying.org/report
Contact the Australian Governments eSafety website https://www.esafety.gov.au and go through the step by step instructions to report cyber bullying or to request help to have material removed from an online platform. Complaint Form Here:
The Australian Governments eSafety website has an extensive list of social media and online platforms with links to help and reporting https://www.esafety.gov.au/complaints-and-reporting/cyberbullying-complaints/social-media-services-safety-centres
You can check up on your legal rights state by state in regard to Cyber Bullying from an online resource called www.lawstuff.org.au. Lawstuff will also give you links for further reporting to higher authorities.
It is important to know that each state and territory in Australia has different laws for Bullying. Lawstuff provides legal information to children and young people in Australia. Please click on your State or Territory below to get legal information related to Cyberbullying in your area:
Contact your local Police if the bullying is threatening physical harm.
Image Based Abuse (Revenge Porn) Help Here
Cyber Stalking/Online Abuse Of Women Contact eSafety Women through the eSafety Commissioners website
Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800) is a free and confidential, telephone counselling service for 5 to 25 year olds in Australia. http://www.kidshelp.com.au
Lifeline (13 11 14) is a free and confidential service staffed by trained telephone counsellors.http://www.lifeline.org.au
The Australian Human Rights Commission (1300 656 419) has a complaint handling service that may investigate complaints of discrimination, harassment and bullying
Some other good websites which deal with cyber bullying are:
- www.bullyingnoway.com.au can provide you with tactics that you can use to respond to bullying
- www.acorn.gov.au for adults reporting cybercrime, identity theft.
- New Zealand www.netsafe.org.nz
- United States https://cyberbullying.org/report
- United Kingdom http://www.childnet.com https://www.bullying.co.uk