Children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, physically or mentally, they have a right to privacy. We all share a collective responsibility to guarantee these rights are enforced and enable children and young people to play, learn, develop, and participate, both offline and online.
No one is immune to online harassment.
The Internet doesn’t take time off for holidays, vacations or summer breaks. In a PEW Study on Teens, Social Media and Technology , ninety-two percent of teens go online daily, with twenty-four percent saying that they are online constantly. They are spending more of their time in cyberspace than they are in the real world.
The gravity of the situation is made more obvious by a survey from Vodafone, which revealed that forty-three percent of teens believed cyberbullying was a bigger problem than drug abuse. The survey also revealed:
• Forty-one percent of teens said cyberbullying made them feel sad, helpless and depressed.
• Twenty-six percent said they felt completely alone.
• Eighteen percent said they felt suicidal.
• Twenty-one percent stay home from school due to cyberbullying
• Thirty-eight percent don’t tell their parents they are being harassed online.
The fact that many children do not tell their parents or an adult about the cyberbullying is an issue that continues to concern experts and advocates. Telling a parent is not only about reporting the bully so that steps can be taken, but it also helps preserve the child’s emotional health.
The reason kids don’t tell their parents about cyberbullying may range from fear of having their lifeline removed (being shut off from the Internet) and being ashamed of what is happening to retaliation from the bully or teasing by other kids. This is why offline parenting is so crucial to a child’s online life. Only parents can turn this statistic around.
Images speak louder than words – so please watch this video and pass it on to your friends, family and kids.
Parents: Teach your kids empathy and talk with them about their online activities.
Teachers: Help kids understand the line between funny and cruel and develop an antibullying charter/program in your school.
Kids: If you witness cyberbullying, report it and offer your support. Be an upstander.
Peer cruelty happens at all ages. Parents need to keep in mind, while they monitoring their children, their kids will be snooping on them. Mom and dad need to be conscience of what they are posting in social media also. You are a social media role model.
Lead by example.
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