Cyberbullying is a form of bullying using cyberspace instead of face to face confrontation. Cyberbullying can take the form of threatening and insulting messages, postings and e-mails.
You should instruct your children to never give out personal information over the Internet and to never to open messages from unknown persons or from known bullies.
If your child is being bullied there are numerous ways to stop it. Tell your child never to reply to insulting messages or postings.
Some forms of cyberbullying are considered criminal acts. If the messages are threatening bodily harm and you fear for your child's safety, contact the police.
Communicating with someone and causing them to become fearful for their own safety is a criminal offence.
Cyberbullies often violate the Canadian Human Rights Act, when he or she spreads hate or discrimination that makes fun of your race, nationality, sex or disability.
If you are a victim of cyberbullying then contact the Greater Sudbury -Police Service by phone 705-675-9171.
To anonymously report a crime, call Crime Stoppers at (705) 675-8477.
What can kids do if they are cyberbullied?
Unlike whispered threats, cyberbullying leaves a trail of evidence, enabling victims to trace their aggressors. When cyberbullying occurs, victims should keep a record of all messages, with their times and dates. E-mail messages can be traced and used as evidence. Kids setting up Instant Messaging accounts should enable the "conversation history" option, so that their computer will store logs of IM conversations.
Cell phone companies can trace any harassing calls and text messages sent through their service, unless the messages are coming from a Web site. Victims can also ask to have their phone numbers changed.
In the case of an offensive Web site, victims can track down a web site host by using one of the many Whois search tools on the Web, then ask the company hosting the site to remove it. However, unless the content is illegal, hosts are not obligated to do so. Whois sites allow people to search for the host of a Web domain. Because there is no central database for this information, users may need to reference more than one Whois site.
Here are three easy-to-remember actions we recommend to victims of cyberbullying.
- Stop: Don't try to reason with or talk to an online bully.
- Block: Use the technology to block the person from contacting you again.
- Talk: Tell a trusted adult (such as a parent, teacher, coach or guidance counsellor), use a help line such as Kids Help Phone or report the incident to the police.
How can adults help kids confront bullies?
Just like kids watching a fight in the schoolyard, bystanders may hesitate to speak out against cyber-bullies for fear of retaliation. Schools and parents need to create a culture that encourages kids to challenge bullying, harassment, and meanness.
Educating kids about the seriousness of cyber-bullying is vital. Many kids think "bullying" means only physical threats and violence. Once they realize that cyber-bullying can be just as hurtful psychologically, they need to know that parents, teachers and other adults will support them if they choose to confront a cyber-bully. Kids' reactions can be crucial to defusing a cyber-bullying situation, because censure from fellow students can carry more clout with bullies than criticism from adults.
The best time to talk to students about ways to combat cyber-bullying is in the late elementary and middle school years, when peer pressure intensifies and Internet use rises dramatically.
How can adults encourage kids to behave ethically online?
Nancy Willard of the Responsible Netizen Institute has developed a list of ethical decision-making strategies that can help young people learn to behave ethically and responsibly online. They include the following tests.
The "Golden Rule" Test: How would you feel if someone did this to you? If you wouldn't like it, then it's probably wrong.
The "Trusted Adult" Test: What would an adult whose opinion you respect, such as a grandparent or coach, think of your actions?
The "Front Page" Test: How would you feel if your actions were reported on the front page of a newspaper?
The "Real World" Test: Would it be okay if you acted the same way in the real world?
Cyberbullying Pamphlet English
Cyberbullying Pamphlet French