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Protecting your family when using your Home Broadband, A deep-dive into Cyber Bullying.

By Ashley Liddell

Cyberbullying is an unfortunate negative that has arisen on the internet. It only takes a quick check-in of the latest news to see that cyberbullying is an issue that affects a wide range of people. From social media users to gamers playing online, seemingly all users are at risk. Discrimination and abuse are unfortunately becoming more and more common online. As a result, It is now more important than ever to find ways to protect yourself and others when interacting with online platforms. To ensure our users can be as safe as possible online, we have developed a list of helpful tips to help our users tackle cyberbullying online. By the end of this blog, you should have all the tools needed to identify cyberbullying, avoid it and report it.


What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that happens in a primarily online setting, occurring when you use your digital devices. Unfortunately, this means that cyberbullying can occur from a smartphone to a gaming device. Any devices that access the internet are likely destinations for cyberbullying events, unfortunately.


Cyberbullying typically involves a bully targeting one specific individual online. They usually send abusive, harmful, and malicious content. Depending on the platform adopted, this abuse could present as an email, text message, social media comment or social media message, YouTube comment or any other communication method online. In a nutshell, if a platform encourages communication within its offering, consider it a likely destination for Cyberbullying.


Yes! This will sound scary. However, by proactively developing your understanding of how cyberbullying occurs online, you can ensure your family remains safe and free from abuse online.


Breaking down the Facts:


Cyberbullying is a real challenge facing parents in a new digital age. Facts evidence that its occurrence is unfortunately common, with YouGov finding that 1 in 4 people (UK) have experienced cyberbullying. The most affected internet users fall within the 18-24 demographic, with only 43% declaring they have never experienced cyberbullying whilst utilising the internet. And unfortunately, the evidence doesn't look positive for cyberbullying stopping anytime soon. In a recent research study, Over 80% of kids questioned claimed they feel it is easier to get away with aggressive behaviour online, an alarming statistic.

Understanding Cyberbullying:

Cyberbullying can occur in a variety of ways. The methods utilised will vary across the platforms a bully operates upon, one or multiple methods could be used. To develop an understanding of cyberbullying, we've compiled a list of various types of cyberbullying.


Harassment:


Harassment involves a cyberbully sending offensive messages on their chosen platform. The messaging will likely be repeated over time. Personal attacks, by making awful remarks or comments, aiming to destroy the target's confidence.


Harassment can also lead to cyberstalking, which is a form of harassment that develops online into constant abusive messaging online upon a platform.


Fake Profile Abuse:


Cyberbullying can occur when a bully creates a fake identity to anonymously harass an individual online. The bully might impersonate someone completely random to you, or someone you know and send you hurtful messages from their account, this can therefore affect multiple people.


Outing:


Outing is the name given to the process where private information is shared publicly over the internet. The process involved personal content or images being published online, usually to embarrass the victim.


Exclusion:


Exclusion occurs when an individual is deliberately singled out by a cyberbully. By deliberately ignoring input by the victim and encouraging others within the group do the same, social exclusion can occur. This process can also result in further abuse and harassment.


Fraping:


Fraping is when a victim has their personal messaging or social media platforms used by a bully. The bully will usually write offensive and inappropriate content and post it online. This could be someone you deem a “friend” snatching your phone off you and posting harmful messages (or images) to your personal accounts for all to see, without your permission. With this particular example, there will be cases of friends "having a laugh" but there can also be more serious cases that are the result of cyberbullying.


How to Avoid Cyberbullying:


We have identified the typical tactics utilised by bully's online. Now, we're going to look at how you can avoid cyberbullying when online. By identifying the typical ways to spot these users online, hopefully, you can then avoid these users, or remove people you believe to be these types of users from your platforms. As a parent, you can also encourage your children to do the same.


And as a side note, please remember that cyberbullying is different to in-person bullying in that cyberbullies can realistically target anyone. So, whilst you must check in on your children regularly and ask about their experiences online, your older children, family members or friends could also be experiencing cyberbullying online. If you notice that the body language of a family member or friend changes after they look at their phone, or that they become distressed and upset, check in with them also! Let your family know you are there should they require support or advice on the matter and be open about discussing everyone's interactions online. And also, be aware of your own interactions online, ask yourself if you are displaying any of the traits above or even if your own children are displaying such traits and act accordingly!

Wondering what to look out for? Look for these signs...

  • Won't be open about discussing their online activities.

  • People avoid interactions after online activities.

  • People have a noticeable shift in mood, negatively.

  • People become defensive when asked about their online activities.

  • People neglect their usual activities and responsibilities

  • People's eating habits may change

  • People will show signs of anxiety, depression or general sadness

  • People's school, university of job has reported changes in their behaviour or their grades, work-rate and productivity will decrease.


Confess, Address, don't Accept!

Bullying of any kind shouldn’t happen, but unfortunately, it often does. This means it is vital that victims seek help and talk about their experiences with others so that together we can tackle the problem head-on. If you are experiencing cyberbullying, you are unfortunately one of many people in your position. But please, do not feel scared or worried. Cyberbullying doesn't have to be something you endure and there are several processes available for you to report and address your concerns.


If you have been a victim of cyberbullying, there are several support networks available to you. If you are a parent, make your child aware of these processes also, so they know how to react should they be bullied online.


  • If you’re/they’re in immediate danger, pick up the phone and call the police on 999 or 112. They’ll talk to you about your experience and provide guidance and protection immediately.

  • Block the user and report abuse on the online platform you are using at the click of a button.

  • Gather the evidence of online harassment by taking screenshots of nasty comments and messages, either on your phone or computer. If the bully deletes what they said, you’ll still have a hard copy to prove their mistreatment.

  • Do not Endure, speak to a family member or close friend who can assist you in dealing with your cyberbullying issues appropriately.


Information about cyberbullying help, advice and organisations.

You can find a whole load of information about cyberbullying online, at the end of a search in Google, including cyberbullying websites that you can seek advice from.


Check out the following:

Ultimately, stay safe when using your Home Broadband and look out for other users on your network and your wider community. And for more information on Team Q's, Quickfire solutions, take a look at our packages.