Last Updated on 11th November 2022
Bullying is not a normal part of childhood and should never happen in any form. Unfortunately, this is a common struggle for children and young people today, and advancing technology only increases the risk. 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 children and young people. 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, this form of bullying does not stop at the school gates.
Unfortunately, cyberbullying is only getting worse. In 2020, Ditch the Label released survey results which reported that 27% of children have experienced a form of cyberbullying, with 11% having experienced cyberbullying through online games. Since then, Ofcom’s 2022 ‘Media use and attitudes report’, found that four in ten children aged 8-17 had experienced some sort of bullying, whether online or offline. Of these, 84% experienced bullying through technology.
Now more than ever, children and young people view online interactions as equal to in-person interactions. This can only increase the harmful effects of cyberbullying.
What You Need to Know
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. You can use the following advice if a child or young person describes an experience which sounds like, or is, online bullying:
but by remaining vigilant and following our key advice, it is possible to mitigate the impact on victims and stop the 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.
GOV.UK – Making a complaint about bullying
NSPCC – Bullying and Cyberbullying
Internet Matters – Cyberbullying
Anti-Bullying Alliance – Advice for Parents
Bullying UK (Family Lives) – Advice for Parents
DFE – Advice for Parents and Carers on Cyberbullying
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