How do I deal with cyberbullying?

The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Cybersmart website has some excellent information on how to deal with cyberbullying. Topics include:

  • What does cyberbullying look like?
  • How do I deal with it?
  • What if a friend is being bullied online?
  • Am I a cyberbully?

Useful tips, links and resources.

Like, post, share

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has published the final version of the report Like, post, share: young Australians’ experience of social media.

Some of the results include:

  • Two thirds of 12-13 year olds (67 per cent) used a social networking service (SNS) in the last four weeks on a computer, 85 per cent of 14-15 year olds have done this, as have 92 per cent of 16-17 year olds.
  • The younger age group (eight to 11 years) are active social network users – 78 per cent of eight to nine year olds and 92 per cent of 10-11 year olds have used a social network. The most popular social network amongst this younger age group was YouTube—more than half of the eight to nine year olds surveyed (53 per cent) and the majority of 10-11 year olds (69 per cent) had used this site.
  • The majority of 12-17 year olds reported having used a social network,– especially those aged 14-17 years (97 per cent of 14-15 year old and 99 per cent of 16-17 year old internet users).
  • Facebook was the most popular social network service for 12-17 year olds. The majority of Facebook users use the site at least daily and in some cases, more often. For example, the majority of Facebook users aged 14 and over in our study were more likely to use Facebook more than once a day (47 to 50 per cent) than daily (32 per cent). (page 8)
  • Twenty one per cent of 14-15 year olds reported having been cyberbullied, compared with four per cent of eight to nine year olds. Reported experiences of cyberbullying amongst 10-17 year olds appears stable since 2009, but has marginally increased for the youngest age group (eight to nine year olds).
  • The children and young people who reported that they had been cyberbullied were also asked who they told, and the majority did tell someone. All the eight to 11 year olds who had experienced cyberbullying told someone, and the majority of the older children did so as well (89 per cent of 12-13 year olds, 93 per cent of 14-15 year olds and 87 per cent of 16-17 year olds told someone).
  • Thirteen per cent of 16-17 year olds reported that within their group of friends, either they or someone else has sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos or videos of themselves to someone else. Eighteen per cent of 16-17 year olds reported that they or someone within their group of friends had received sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos or videos of someone else. Parents underestimated the extent to which their children were exposed to sexting.

Read the whole report here.

Younger teens stand up to cyberbullying

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has recently published the early findings into research on cyberbullying with the following results:

According to the ACMA’s research, more than one in five 14 to 15-year-olds has experienced cyberbullying, compared to sixteen per cent of 16 to 17-year-olds. Twelve per cent of 14 to 15-year-olds report that they have frequently witnessed cyberbullying.

‘The good news is that these young people are prepared to stand up and speak out about cyberbullying. Fourteen and 15-year-olds reported that they frequently took action by telling the cyberbully to stop (14 per cent), defending the target of the bullying (20 per cent), or ignoring the cyberbullying behaviour (21 per cent),’ Richard Bean said.

Levels of cyberbullying among Australian children remain generally steady despite increases in online participation, indicating that the cybersafety messages underpinning programs such as Cybersmart are getting through.

Read the rest of the early findings here.

How much internet is too much?

Dr. Philip Tam, a Child/ Adolescent Psychiatrist and President/ Co-Founder of niira, the Network for Internet Investigation and Research Australia has written a post on internet addiction for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (cyber: smart) blog.

Some of the questions I am asked when assessing a child or teenager with problematic internet use are: How common is this problem in the community? How can parents try to manage or control their child’s heavy (or even extreme) computer use? Can it cause lasting damage and harm to a developing individual?

There have been a number of studies done internationally and in Australia looking at just how big an issue problematic internet use might be. There is an emerging consensus that around five to 10 per cent of all regular computer or internet users (including those who enjoy gaming) might have a problem with excessive use.

Parents have a key role in managing their child’s internet use. Talk to your child, and monitor what games, apps and devices are bought or used by your child. Look out for warning signs that a problem may be emerging, such as reduced school performance or attendance, lack of sleep, not eating and becoming withdrawn from friends and family.

In an upcoming post, Dr Tam will look at available treatments.

Online gaming – five ways to strike a balance

Late last month, ACMA released a post on ways families can strike a balance in the use of online gaming. Author Stephanie Brantz, an ambassador for the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association explains:

We all want our kids to learn about their online rights and responsibilities. Like most parents, I am very busy and, as much as I am a multi-tasker, I cannot constantly be hovering over the computer screen 24/7 watching what my kids are up to. We parents need to help our children find a balance between enjoying online video games while being safe.

Tips include:

  1. keep them close
  2. lay down the law
  3. support role
  4. fantasy names
  5. know the territory

Read the whole piece here.

Youth and Media – Parents, Teens, and Online Privacy

This video came to my attention through the ACMA Cybersmart YouTube Channel.

The video is about a mother who friends her son on Facebook.

This video was made by the Youth and Media Summer Interns 2012 at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

It was created to make research findings on youth, parents, and online privacy accessible to a broader audience and to stimulate discussion among youth and parents.

The characters in this movie are fictional. However, a select number of quotes were taken directly from focus group interviews with youth, conducted by Youth and Media.
The video also includes data from the Pew (Pew Internet & American Life Project) report :http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Teens-and-Privacy.aspx