Cyberbullying is the act of harming or harassing via information technology networks in a repeated and deliberate manner according to Wiki.
Is this cyberbullying definition complete? We are used to think about Cyberbullying as an individual issue, so we have a Cyberbully and a Cybervictim. The issue is far more complex than this, so we have to understand the multi-factorial definition of Cyberbullying:
- Cyberbullying as Social and Emotional issue.
The more the Social disease, the more the fear and the anxiety, and the more the anger. Cyber bullying among teens, as well as Bullying, is expression of the uneasiness.
- Cyberbullying as Moral issue.
We need empty spaces for our Psyche to feed itself with Principles and Moral values. Our hyperconnected World fill every single space, preventing this process. Moral values are replaced by the more pragmatic chain of crime-punishment.
- Cyberbullying as Relational issue.
Many researches report a correlation between Cyberbullying and Emotional disease of the victim, so Cyberbully and Cybervistim are two sides of the same coin.
Keep in mind that many factors lead to many ways to prevent Cyberbullying and stop it.
Ways to stop cyberbullying
As Cyberbullying is a multi-factorial issue, we are all involved. If you’re wondering how you can contribute to the anti Cyberbullying fight and stand up for kids' online safety, then have a look at the list above and you’ll find the place and role that most suits to you.
As a Parent
Family is the first group our kids live in, so it’s the most influential.
You as a Parent plant a good seed by educating your sons and daughters to the Emotions, to the diversity, to the respect of the weakest. As your children grow up, you make your home the quiet place your children refer to when they feel stressed or in troubles.
Sit with your kids, talk with them, encourage them to talk about their experiences, their fears and their emotions. Always ask, never judge. As a side note, make sure that your children are aware of online privacy tips, know how to keep their passwords safe from intruders, and ready to share this knowledge with their classmates.
As a Teacher or School
School is the second family, sometimes the first one, and Teachers have an educational role they aren’t allowed to neglect. If Teachers neglect their educational role, their students will remember it, usually by wrong behaviors that are expression of a disease. So students need mentors, and a place where they feel protected.
Never underestimate your student’s Online matters, join anti Cyberbullying Campaigns and take new ways to stop bullying in your School, create a peer task force and name an adult referent. Set clear rules about the allowed online behaviors, and clear fines and punishments for bullying and cyberbullying in your policies.
As a Social Worker, Educator, Psychologist
You have already known how to deal with kids and teens on site. The Cyber World is a Digital Universe, and you need to explore it and know what happens inside in order to better understand the Cyberbullying issue and work on it.
Understand the Digital is a real Copernican Revolution, so you need to know the new rules and how they affect our Society and our Minds.
No matter the role you are acting to stop cyberbullying, the main rule here is: know the Digital World, and always remember the Online is as real as the Offline to our children. From this moment on, you integrate this knowledge with your Profession.
The multi-factorial nature of Cyberbullying forces (suggests?) us to operate as an anti cyberbullying team made of Parents, Teachers, Schools, Police, Social Workers, Educators, Psychologists, other Professionals...and Teens! Let's take real steps to put a stop to bullying in our families, schools, communities.
The Digital Reality is the future your children are going to live in, so they are the main characters of this story. Bullies and cyberbullies are made, not born. Our very role as parents is to handle normal aggression of 2-year-olds make our children able to face the Online issues on their own.
There are many events (both online and local) that help our children to become aware of the Cyberthreats and get stronger about them. Our task is to encourage our sons and daughters to attend these events and spread anti-bullying message among their friends.
Your children’s Future is a World you’ll not be allowed to fully enter: you’ll be allowed to watch it from the doorstep. From there, you’ll be allowed to give suggestions, show the right direction, and provide the right tools. Then, it’s up to your future men and women to walk their own Life and join our anti cyberbullying team as professionals in their fields.