Cyber Bullying

The new generation was born into a digital world that thrives on constant connectivity. This has its benefits, but it also there are also clear risks – cyber bullying being a major one for children and teens around the world.

What exactly is cyber bullying?

Cyber bullying refers to the use of digital media to deliberately communicate hostile, false or embarrassing information to, or about, another person. Cyber bullying can take many forms such as mean text messages, spreading untrue, private or unflattering information or pictures, sending or sharing sexually suggestive content – anything intended to have a negative effect on another person.

Due to its instant, lasting online (and often public) nature, over 60% of children recently surveyed in South Africa agreed cyber bullying is worse than bullying face-to-face. It can lead to depression, anxiety, or even suicide.

The facts:

According to a study by Vodafone

  • One in five South African teens have experienced cyber bullying
  • 43% of survey participants believed cyber bullying to be a bigger issue for young people than drug abuse
  • 41% of teens said cyber bullying made them feel depressed or helpless; 26% felt ‘completely alone’; and 18% experienced suicidal thoughts
  • One in five teens had not gone to school because of cyber bullying incidents

Worst of all is that almost 40% of the teens admitted they had not told their parents or guardians about cyber bullying experiences because they felt ashamed (32%), were scared their parents would get involved (40%), or worried what their parents might do (36%).

This send a clear message to us as parents, guardians and teachers – we need to fight cyber bullying head-on. We can do this by:

  • Knowing what signs to look for that indicate that a child is being cyber bullied
  • Monitoring online activity
  • Knowing how to respond to an incident of cyber bullying
  • Become familiar with the laws surrounding cyber bullying
  • And, most importantly – educating children and teens about what cyber bullying is, how to prevent it from happening, and how to react and what to do if it does happen

The articles on this site will give you the information to need to stamp out cyber bullying, to know how to deal with both the bullies and the victims, and better yet, to prevent this harmful practice from occurring altogether.