Study Details Cyberbullying Problem And How To Counter It At Home
A new school season starts soon, and with new experiences come new risks for children, particularly incidents of cyber bullying. Recently the online non-profit A Secure Life, using data from Pew Research studies on cyberbullying from the last few years, put together a survey designed around being aware of cyberbullying and how to prevent or stop it.
"So we looked at percentages of how big a problem cyberbullying is, and then we wanted to create a piece or report that talked to two audiences: what can parents do to prevent cyberbullying and what can children need to do if they're a victim of cyberbullying," said Sage Singleton, A Secure Life's research analyst who worked on the survey.
Singleton recommended parents look into software that lets them keep an eye on their children’s' online activity and set limits as to how long and where children can use their devices. Children should be cautious putting identifying information on publicly accessible accounts or domains, using the example of taking a photo in front of the school they attend. And when it comes to dealing with cyberbullying when it happens to you or a loved one, she advises people preserve the evidence and don't be afraid to reach out if you need help.
But most importantly at the beginning, Singleton explained, is to know just what cyberbullying is.
"Understand that cyberbullying can even be as simple as shaming people for what they're wearing or how many likes you get on Instagram," she said. "More than half of the people online have been a victim of cyberbullying.”
Cyberbullying’s slow increase, Singleton said, correlates to tech's popularity alongside teens and children having early access to it. Social media, cell phones - anything can be used as a medium for cyberbullying. She also cautions that research shows girls can be more susceptible to cyberbullying than boys.
"Teach your kids about online safety...I think people tend to believe 'oh that's not going to happen to me,' and it does," she said. "Anyone can be a victim of cyberbullying."