I think everyone can agree the internet is an amazing thing but we cannot deny it has its weaknesses. One such weakness is cyber bullying. The month of November in the UK is anti bullying month and this year there is an added focus on Cyber Bullying. Cyber bullying involves unwanted messages, images, audio or video sent by electronic means to threaten, abuse or harm someone. (Spunout.ie) Some examples of cyber bullying include:
- Abusive messages or slagging on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
- Offensive comments on videos or posts.
- Spreading rumours online.
- Hacking into your online accounts.
- Posting offensive images or posting doctored images of victims
While the idea of an Anti-Bulling week or month is highly commendable it is important to highlight anti-bullying in schools all year around. Bullying happens everyday in every school and every playground no matter how much we fight against it. Before cyber bullying the person being bullied got an escape once they made it through the school day. Today with the advancing technologies and the wide access to internet bullying can occur 24/7 which makes it more dangerous than ever. So how so we fight against it? In my opinion EDUCATION
Bullying happens we cannot stop it completely but by making students understand what bullying is and the effects it has on people we may be able to stop potential bullying incidents. Often bullies do not realise when they are bullying. I have often heard people who I went to school with who did bully people claim to hate bullies and everything related to bullying. They do not realise bullying can take small forms as well as big. It can be something as simple as whispering so a person cannot overhear, laughing when a person enters the room, asking questions which make people awkward, excluding a person from a group or including them just so you can make fun at their expense. Students need to understand that the little things make just as much of an impression as the big things.
Students need to be aware of the amount of support that is out there for people who have been and are being bullied. Schools should have a support system in place and students should be made aware that there are people to talk too. If students are uncomfortable talking to someone they know there is a whole world of support online. Childline, Spunout.it, Samaritans, webwise, anti bullying ireland, and reachout.com all offer a mountain of support and this is only a number of organisations that are available.
In today’s cyber world a big part of the problem is not seeing the reaction bullying can have. It is not a personal interaction. It is done by phone or through a computer screen. Students need to develop empathy with others and be able to see what the effects of bullying can be. To tackle this problem there are a lot of online videos that talk with people who have experienced bullying and who still are. People are often available to come into schools to chat in person about the effects of bullying and what you can do.
Bullying is not going to disappear any time soon but awareness, support and responsibility can help tackle the problems in our schools. Below I have links to some videos that can be used to highlight the issue that I hope people find useful.
If you are reading this and are a survivor of bullying or it is occurring now do not be afraid to talk to someone, a friend, relative online etc. You are not alone and help is out there even if it does not feel like it.