Bullying is not a normal part of childhood and should never happen. The long term impact of cyberbullying on a young person’s physical and mental wellbeing can be profound. Cyberbullying, as with all bullying can contribute to mental health disorders, substance misuse and in extreme cases, suicidal ideation.
In this blog, we offer key advice to reduce bullying and mitigate its impact on victims. Always remember that every child has the right to live in a safe and healthy environment free from bullying, harassment and intimidation in all forms.
What is Cyberbullying?
The National Bullying Helpline defines Cyberbullying as bullying and harassment using technology. This includes trolling, mobbing, stalking, grooming or any form of abuse online. Cyberbullying can be more difficult to escape than offline bullying, as it doesn’t stop after school.
Unfortunately, cyberbullying is getting worse. In 2011, 11% of parents in the UK reported that their child was the victim of Cyberbullying. In 2018, this figure rose to 18%. This number is expected to continue to rise and has increased worldwide during the lockdown.
What to do if a Child or Young Person in Your Care is Being Bullied Online
Children and young people in your care may not use the word bullying to describe what is happening to them, so it’s important to listen if they mention things which are upsetting them or worrying them online. Try using the following advice if a child or young person describes an experience which sounds like, or is online bullying:
Make sure to teach children and young people how to block and report users. You can find instructions on how to do this for all major social media platforms at Our Safety Centre.
For more information on cyberbullying, you can check out the NSPCC.
The UK Government’s Department of Education has also published useful advice on cyberbullying which you can access here.