Stop bullying

The US Federal government’s website Stop Bullying is a great resource for anyone wanting to learn how to report and prevent cyberbullying. The site covers:

  • Steps to take immediately
  • Reporting cyberbullying to online service providers
  • Reporting cyberbullying to law enforcement agencies
  • Reporting cyberbullying to schools

While a US site (and please note that US contact details are given, which are not appropriate for Australian audiences), it is still a useful resource providing guidance and ideas on who and where to turn if cyberbullying is an issue.

Bullying and cyberbullying interactive learning modules for parents

The Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has developed online interactive learning modules for parents that focus on bullying and cyberbullying.

The bullying and cyberbullying module

developed in partnership with Andrew Fuller, (clinical psychologist and student wellbeing specialist), has been developed to help parents understand, recognise and manage bullying and cyberbullying behaviours.

The cybersafety and social media module

developed in partnership with Susan McLean (cybersafety expert), has been developed to help parents address standards of behaviour in the context of cybersafety and social media.

Two excellent resources for parents.

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.

Childish behaviour as parents worsen cyber-bullying

Recently the Sydney Morning Herald published an article on how parental involvement in their child’s online issues can actually make matters worse. Journalist Deborah Gough explains:

PARENTS who buy into their children’s online disputes can continue the tirade long after their children have made up, warn bullying experts.

Judi Fallon, manager of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s eSmart program, said parents can exacerbate cyber bullying problems between schoolchildren.

Ms Fallon said the problem could start at school, then continue at home on social media sites, where parents often became involved. ”Kids being kids, they can end up friends the next day, but the parents continue on with it,” she said.

Read the entire article here.

NZ may outlaw cyberbullying

A recent ABC report that New Zealand’s government may make cyberbullying a criminal offence is of great interest.

The new digital communications offence would outlaw grossly offensive or menacing comments which cause harm.

It would apply to people older than 14 years and would carry a maximum penalty of three months’ jail or a fine of $US1,600.

The Law Commission says existing laws should also be modified to encompass digital communications.

It is recommending a communications tribunal be established with the power to name and shame offenders and issue take-down orders.

Schools would also be legally required to implement anti-bullying policies and practices.

Read the whole report here.

Bullying victim wins court case forcing Facebook to unmask anonymous tormentors

A few weeks ago Yahoo News reported on a court case in the United Kingdom where Facebook has been ordered to unveil the names, email addresses and IP information of a tormentor.

A representative from Facebook said

we respect our legal obligations and work with law enforcement to ensure that such people are brought to justice.

This is not the first time this has occurred, so anyone thinking that they can hide behind the anonymity of Facebook are mistaken. Read the entire article here.

Study reports on teenagers’ online behaviour

A few days ago Mashable reported on McAfee’s study into the online behaviour of teenagers. Although US based, this gives us a reasonable idea of how Australian teenagers are using the internet.

  •  70% of teens are hiding their online behavior from their parents, up from 45% in 2010. What exactly teens are hiding runs the gamut, but across the board parents are in the dark about most of their kids’ online activity. 
  • For example, 48.1% of teens admitted to looking up assignments and test answers online, while 77.2% of their parents said they don’t worry about their kids cheating in school.
  • And while 32% of teens surveyed have accessed pornographic content online, only 12% of their parents thought they had.
  • Similarly, 51% of teens reported that they have hacked someone’s social media account and 31% reported pirating movies and music. Meanwhile, less than 1 in 10 parents surveyed were aware that their children engaged in these illegal activities.
  • The study found that teens are getting creative with how they hide their online content and activity—a majority of teens (53%) regularly clear their browser history to keep their parents out of the loop. Twenty-four percent of teens went so far as to either create private email addresses unknown to their parents or create duplicate/fake social media profiles.
  • Despite an overwhelming sentiment of “not my kid” denial, parents are stepping up their game with online monitoring in an attempt to keep their kids out of trouble. Many are setting parental controls (49%), obtaining email and social network passwords (44%) and even using location-based devices to keep track of teens (10%). Still, nearly a quarter of parents surveyed admitted that they are so overwhelmed with technology that they can’t monitor their children’s online behaviors and are simply hoping for the best.
  • Other key findings of the study included statistics indicating a rise in cyberbullying, and Facebook proves to be the epicenter. Sixty-two percent of teens have witnessed cruel behavior online, and 93% of them say that it took place on Facebook.

Read more information from Mashable here and McAfee’s whole report here.

Facebook joins cyber bully fight

Last week The Age published an article explaining how Facebook is joining the fight against cyberbullies.

FACEBOOK and the Victorian government have forged an Australia-first relationship that will today see 2000 secondary students take part in a cyberbullying exercise.

It comes after the Education Minister, Martin Dixon, met with Facebook’s Australian policy manager, Mia Garlick, in April to discuss a joint approach to cyber bullying.

Read the entire article here.

Research finds factors leading to cyber-bullying different to traditional bullying

The Australian Catholic University (ACU) has published a study where the results point towards’ traditional’ and ‘cyber’ bullying originate for different reasons.

Professor Hemphill found that academic failure, family conflict and past bullying behavior were the main factors leading to episodes of traditional bullying.

Of these, only past behavior, in the form of relational aggression, was a factor leading to incidents of cyber-bullying.

Relational aggression refers to covert forms of bullying such as exclusion and spreading rumours.

Read the whole post here.