For a few years now, the term cyberbullying (or cyberbullying between peers) has become very fashionable but … what is this? Cyberbullying is harassment through the Internet , something that can happen to practically everyone, although it is usually more common in children, adolescents and young people because they are the sector of the population that spends the most time in front of the computer.
Cyberbullying is from one equal to another , but we can believe that they are bites between children through social networks, however, it is not that simple. In addition, we should not confuse it with cyberbullying, which is when that bullying is given by adults. In a large part of cases, children or adolescents may be being deceived by unknown adults (or not so much), posing as people their age for example. For this reason, it is important that we talk with our children so that they know how to recognize a situation of this type.
GUIDELINES TO HELP MY CHILDREN IDENTIFY CYBERBULLYING OR CYBERBULLYING
1) Talk to him before putting the Internet at home Talking to him is to make sure that he has understood the key concepts, that he has no doubts and most importantly, that he does not take what you are saying to him funny. Many adolescents will think that you are exaggerating or that this will not happen to them, this is what is called the false invulnerability bias , that is, the person believes that they have less chance of misfortunes happening to them compared to others (illnesses, accidents and all kinds of negative events). Give real examples, and deny the most common rumors. If someone unknown wants to contact them or is directly cyberbullying youthey should not respond, just block the person in question. The messages should not be deleted either because they will remain as future evidence in the case of wanting to report.
2) Be her confidant
If you suspect that he may be suffering cyberbullying or cyberbullying, we have to encourage him to communicate it, we cannot pretend to extract anything from him if he does not collaborate. Our goal is for you to see us as a pillar you can trust , never question you. The approach to adolescents has to be gradual and empathetic.
3) Harassment through social networks
Some teens don’t know exactly what social media bullying is. They may think, for example, that it is normal for his friends to upload photos of him without his permission and that if this happens they cannot do anything. Teach him what his rights are and what to do if his classmates are harassing him online. When they connect to the Internet, they are more likely to be harassed by strangers, for example through chats or forums. However, the main bullies on WhatsApp are usually classmates or friends. Through the mobile it is easier to harass a person, it is an ambiguous medium where non-verbal communication has no place.You cannot know 100% the intentions of the other person when making a comment and irony is not always easy to grasp, therefore, after a harmful comment the other person can hide behind the fact that they were not serious.
4) It’s not just for kids
Make them aware of how some adults also cyberbullying, that is, they can take advantage of teenagers and children who are online. Tell them how many false profiles are created to meet teenagers and lie to them making them believe that they are the same age, in order to pass photos of them or much worse, encouraging them to meet. Although it sounds like a movie, it often happens thanks to the cognitive biases that humans have: the false invulnerability bias that we mentioned earlier and the illusory optimism bias , which is when we believe that we are more likely than other people that good things happen to us, in this case meeting “our better half” on the Internet. This type of situation occurs more on the Internet than on applications such as WhatsApp although there is everything.
5) First of all, privacy
When you talk to him make it clear that he should never send his photos to anyone unknown because knowing the neighborhood where he lives can recognize him. Nor should they give information about their daily routine and obviously the address or the institute they go to. In the case of being people known as classmates or friends, they should never pass photos that could be compromised. People are very fickle and although your child can get along very well with his friends you never know when they can get angry. Who knows, maybe that photo he sent from the trust will be used against him in the future. If we adults already get angry over nonsense, imagine teenagers who are a sack of hormones with legs, it is a difficult age and emotions are running high. Explain that everything that is uploaded to the Internet stays on the Internet and the same happens when you send files through WhatsApp. They may already know all this if they are of a certain age but it does not hurt to remind them.
6) If you still don’t trust …
Ideally, you can talk to him openly and create a friendly environment where he trusts you, but if your teenager is a bit immature and you don’t trust him, don’t let him be connected without your presence. Have only one computer at home with a session shared by everyone and in a common room, do not buy a laptop. Let it connect freely but always with you in front or nearby. It is not about you being glued to it either, give it a bit of privacy but keep an eye on the type of pages it enters from time to time. You can also put a parental control program but this should never be a substitute for true supervision. Many teens can manage to skip it.
WHAT IF YOU ALREADY SUFFER CYBERBULLYING?
If your child is already suffering cyberbullying , for example by his classmates via WhatsApp, you should know that it is not reportable because they are minors. What to do then? The best thing would be to talk to the parents of the boys in question and tell them all the problems so that they get involved in the situation. You can also notify the school if it is a classmate since many have implemented a protocol for cyberbullying cases, although it is recommended that you speak with the main stakeholders first to see if it can be resolved in private.