Bullies now go along with the ever fast-growing internet and it’s disturbing to see that victims are also mounting fast than previously. The impact brought both to the bully and the one being bullied is still obvious and undeniable. Hence it’s important to take immediate actions to resolve the problem as it gets much more widespread along with the advent of new technology. Learn about Dealing with CyberBullying in the United Kingdom!
What is Cyberbullying?
Simply defined, Cyberbullying is bullying through the use of the internet and other related technologies. This is mostly done on social networking sites, like Facebook, Bebo, YouTube, MySpace, and even in SMS and instant messaging, mostly with the intention of harming, coercing, or humiliating others (www.bullying.co.uk). There are many ways to bully online, which include the following:
This is when someone either hacks your account or pretends to be you after they’ve stolen some private details from your profile or set up a new account.
Spreading Rumours and Gossip
Bullies can spread nasty and vicious pictures of you on the internet, with the intention of humiliating you in the public.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) is an organization concerned with grooming cases. Grooming is where people involve you in a wrong activity by making friends with you first. They can do this by blackmail. In the UK, this behaviour can be considered a criminal offence.
This is the worst one could do. Someone who’s making threats online could commit a criminal offence based on the UK law. It could also be against the 1997 Harassment Act.
Dealing with Cyberbullying in the United Kingdom
As for Cyberbullying Statistics in the United Kingdom, according to Liam Hackett (2013) in his Annual Bullying Survey taken from over 2,000 British teens, the level of Cyberbullying Statistics in the United Kingdom is a growing trend and 7 in 10 (69%) young people aged 13 and 22 had experienced Cyberbullying with 20% of which had been very extreme. 37% of them experience bullying frequently. 20% also had undergone extreme cases and were twice as likely to be bullied in Facebook than any other sites, with 54% of people being bullied on this site.
Hackett added that young trans-gender is more likely to experience this than boys or girls. When scaled from 1 to 10 to test the effect it brings to their self-esteem, with 10 being incredibly severe, 7.5 was the average. “It’s having a massive impact on young people, and it’s ‘heartbreaking to read’,” he said. Bullying UK’s 2006 National Bullying Survey also stated that 87% of parents reported that their child had been bullied for the past 12 months. 20% also had reported that they bullied others while 85% witnessed some cases of bullying with 82% of them who tried to intervene.
Another research led by Steven Walker (2011) reported that over a quarter (29%) of those who had experienced bullying stayed away from school, while 39% stopped socializing outside the campus. “As the use of social media amongst young people continues to grow … Cyber Bullying Statistics in United Kingdom is only likely to get worse,” he suggested, “… the internet provides a new means through which children and young people are bullied” .
The Department for Children, Schools and Families (2010) added that 29% of children and young people in England experienced bullying in 2009/10. Whatever varied results from different surveys shows, the fact still remains that more and more people, almost or over a quarter, especially young ones not just in UK but the whole world over has been experiencing bullying.
More on Dealing with Cyberbullying
Despite the devastating impact it had among the youth, the reality clearly speaks, in accordance with the increasing advocacy to combat it, victims can do something to stop or lessen Cyberbullying Statistics in the United Kingdom. You should first realize that whatever has a place on the internet cannot be changed. Hence, it’s important to take precautionary measures, particularly on Social Networking Sites.
For your password, never make it that easy for people to guess. Never tell your password to anyone. Be careful also about the personal details stated on your profile, and check your account security on a regular basis.
Don’t just easily deal with strangers, but if someone’s blackmailing you, report it – first to your parents or any adult, then to the authority like CEOP. Though you only know their email address, the law enforcement can still track them down and find out who they are.
If someone posted something humiliating about you on the internet, yes you can’t go back to the past and alter the doing but you can get them removed from the website. You can also block that person. But at the first place don’t put on your account anything that can embarrass you afterwards. Be responsible on your post, shares, comments and whatever you do online.
If you’re just sharing a computer at school or in an internet cafe, don’t ever forget to log off when you’re finished.
Most websites forbid these malicious acts and other abusive behaviours, so you can make a complaint by copying their terms and conditions and taking a screenshot of the spiteful post or comment as evidence. Make sure you are well aware of these procedures.
Whether you’re already experiencing Cyberbullying or is at risk with it, just be smart enough to know what you’re going to do in case that happens. Always be open to adults especially to your parents about what’s happening to you and never let anyone take away your dignity. Just be confident enough to stay strong.
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Spread the word about Cyber Bullying Statistics in the United Kingdom!
Digital technology has been a tremendous boon to countries all over the world. The Internet has made its mark in almost every culture, enhancing education, communications and socialization as well as boosting economies. Digital advances, however, also have their drawbacks. Along with all the good, consistent Internet use increases the risk of cyberbullying, especially among the younger generation.
By definition, cyberbullying is bullying that occurs online via social media sites, chat rooms, e-mails, gaming sites, etc., or through text messaging and phone calls on smartphones. With so many young people using online services for socialization, it was only a matter of time before bullies would take advantage of this medium to perpetrate bullying acts. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube and Ask.fm are just a few of the dozens of social sites cyberbullies use to taunt their victims.
Cyberbullying in the UK: An Alarming Problem
In the UK, cyberbullying has grown to be an alarming problem for children of all ages. According to reports from BullyingUK, helpline calls relating to cyberbullying issues increased by as much as 77% within a 12 month time period.
Cyberbullying not only hurts victims but can disrupt entire families, causing fear, anxiety and depression. The following cyberbullying facts were compiled from a national survey conducted by BullyingUK in which 1,761 people responded:
- 43.5% of children surveyed between the ages of 11 and 16 were bullied on social sites
- 56% of those surveyed reported seeing bullying online
- 42% said they felt insecure going online
Cyberbullying research conducted by Steven Walker in 2011 showed that 29% of bullying victims between the ages of 11 and 19 stopped attending school due to cyberattacks. Of those that remained in school, 39% ceased to socialize outside the boundaries of their institution.
“As the use of social media amongst young people continues to grow,” says Walker, “cyber bullying statistics in UK is only likely to get worse (as) the Internet provides a new means through which children and young people are bullied.”
Walker’s prediction can be corroborated by the following cyberbullying statistics from the 2014 annual bullying report of the UK charity Ditch the Label:
- 7 out of 10 young people reported being bullied online; 37% of these experienced online bullying frequently
- 20% of youth surveyed said they experienced extreme Internet bullying daily
- 54% of young survey applicants reported being victims of Facebook bullying; Facebook, Twitter and Ask.fm were the mediums that presented the highest risk of cyberbullying
- It’s estimated that 5.43 million UK children and teens have had experience with cyberattacks
According to the Anti-Bullying Alliance, 17% of children in London alone have experienced cruelty online; 25% of these have witnessed friends or classmates being victimized by cyberbullies
In addition to surveying children, parents were asked to give input on their experience with online bullying. The results were not all that positive.
- Only 15% of UK parents thought their children were safe online
- 47% of UK parents had concerns about their kids being cyberbullied; 15% were sure their kids had been victims of bullying online.
- 44% of UK parents had reason to believe their child was a cyberbully
Since 2013, concerns have been raised about social sites like Ask.fm where young people post personal details and photos about themselves and allow most any viewer to comment on their profile. Reviews of the site reveal that many of the comments made are offensive, ranging from insults and threats to immoral sexual advances.
A social site that’s frequently used to affront children and teens by allowing their peers to embarrass and humiliate them in front of an audience of thousands should be carefully examined. By supervising the online activity of their tweens and younger teens, parents can protect them from such dangerous sites.
Taking into consideration the prevalence of cyberbullying in the UK, parents should take time to educate their kids on online safety to protect them from the dangers of cyberattacks. Young social network users need to know how to use the Net safely and most importantly, how to deal with cyberbullying if they are targeted.
Young people who see or experience signs of cyberbullying should report the incident immediately to a parent or adult they trust. If the incident occurs at school such as receiving a malicious phone call or text, students should report it to their teacher.
Cyberbullying is just as dangerous as traditional bullying, or even more so, seeing how rapidly it spreads and how far it reaches. By keeping an eye out for cyberbullying signs, parents and teachers can help young victims get through any cyber offense they may be going through. It often takes the concerted effort of teachers and parents to prevent cyberbullying and protect the children in their care.
Effects of Cyberbullying in the UK
Internet bullying can occur at any time or at any place where there is an Internet connection. Young people are just as much at risk of being bullied online at home as they are at school or at work. Although cyberbullying occurs quite a bit among young people, adults can also be targets or perpetrators of cyberattacks.
Cyberbullying can affect every aspect of a young person’s life. Lack of appetite, sleep loss, drop in school grades and skipping school are common signs that a child or teen may be suffering from bullying. The emotional trauma can even lead to self-harm or attempted suicide. Research shows that 10% of teens who are bullied in school have tried to take their own lives; 30% attempt self-harm acts.
In the UK, cyberbullying has taken a toll on students from all walks of life. UK news stories exposing the dangers of Internet bullying have been aired on national television, printed in newspapers and posted online for years. UK young people are those who have suffered the most from cyberattacks.
In July 2013, Daniel Perry, a 17-year-old secondary school student, committed suicide due to being blackmailed online. Daniel began online conversations with someone he thought was a teen girl his age, but turned out to be a member of an extortion gang.
Shortly after sharing ‘private’ material with his newfound ‘friend’, the gang demanded he pay them money to keep this material from going public. Daniel committed suicide to escape the humiliation of what he had done. Months earlier, Daniel had been the victim of bullies on Ask.fm, a well-known young people social site.
A month later, 14-year-old Hannah Smith took her own life at her Leicestershire home after being bullied incessantly on Ask.fm for months. David Smith, her father, discovered the bullying upon her demise. Before the tragedy, however, Hannah showed ‘no signs’ of being on the verge of suicide. Both bullying cases reflect the serious consequences that hateful bullying behavior can have on a young person’s life.
Through the Internet, bullies can torment their victims anywhere and anytime. Malicious posts only take a few minutes to spread far and wide, reaching people inside their homes, workplaces, schools, shopping malls, cafes and any other location that has Internet connection. “Before someone could be bullied at school but could go home and have respite from it,” says Dr. Lucy Maddox of the British Psychological Society, “now it can go on for 24 hours.”
Daniel Raisbeck, co-founder of the British anti-bullying charity Cybersmile, reiterated the dangers of internet bullying when he said: “For a person to be manipulated in their home and bullied in their own loving home which is supposed to be where you feel safe… if that is undermined, what has a child got?”
Mr. Raisbeck created Cybersmile after his tween son experienced online bullying on a gaming site. The game required that competitors form teams to compete for one against each other. Mr Raisbeck saw warning signs that something was amiss right away as his son’s demeanour began to change as he played in the living room of his home.
During the course of play, his young son began to receive abusive comments and banter online. According to Mr Raisbeck, his son’s account was hacked and the game playing “got very nasty, out of control.” Fortunately, Mr Raisbeck was able to talk to his son and help defuse the situation.
Many kids, however, feel uncomfortable talking to parents about bullying incidents and keep the matter to themselves. Suffering in silence can have devastating effects, as evidenced by the teen suicides of Daniel and Hannah. By maintaining a close relationship with their kids as they grow older, parents can help them through the difficulties they face with middle school or high school cyberbullying attacks.
In Daniel Raisbeck’s opinion, everyone should take responsibility for helping to stop cyberbullying and “get rid of online hate”. “Schools, authorities and the companies themselves have to do their bit and make sure that the message gets across so this behaviour is seen to be wrong and socially unacceptable,” Mr. Raisbeck said.
“We need to have a massive campaign showing the real emotional cost of losing someone through this and how it happens. I count myself quite lucky that I managed to engage with my kid before it went too far – and that’s where parents need to be.”
Who’s Responsible for Online Safety of British Youth?
Although online safety is a parental responsibility, many British parents feel they need help from local schools and government sources to keep their kids safe from cyberattacks. Students also feel schools aren’t doing enough to resolve online bullying problems.
Amy James, a 15-year-old high school student from Wales, says that many of her peers have been bullied on social media but don’t tell teachers as ‘anything will be done.’ ‘We don’t have proper lessons looking at social media at school but if we did, it might help people who are experiencing bullying. People need to be taught about the effect that cyberbullying can have,’ Amy says.
Schools need to create greater bullying awareness so students know where to go for help and support. Teachers and staff also need training in how to use social media so they can educate students on online etiquette and expose the risks of using social sites unwisely.
Although UK schools offer Internet safety classes, students still fall into cyberbullying traps. Carol Phillips, a student support officer (SSO) at Crickhowell High School in the city of Powys, Wales, feels parents need to take greater responsibility for how their kids use the Internet in their daily lives. Most parents, she feels, purchase their kids’ high tech smartphones without understanding all they can get into with their device.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of a parent or a sibling, with parental knowledge, putting a child on Facebook when they are below the age of 13. Of course, you can’t monitor your children all the time, but there are steps you can take, including controls and filters, or looking at the PEGI age rating that appears on games,” she says.
As social media is so popular with British youth, it’s a favourite hub for cyberbullies to launch their attacks. Girls who are naive enough to text a naked photo of themselves to their boyfriend in private may very well see that same image on social media later on. Some parents feel schools need stricter rules concerning online behaviour with serious repercussions to help keep students in line. Even though cyberbullying may happen outside the classroom, it drastically affects young people’s academics and future, making it essential for schools to get involved.
Liz Watson, head of Beat Bullying, feels UK schools need upgraded methods and measures to deal with bullying online. E-safety classes are just the first step toward creating greater cyberbullying awareness. From there, schools need anti-bullying policies that clarify how to handle bullying issues as they arise.
The Use of E-Safety Software to Curtail Cyberbullying Acts
In 2014, UK schools incorporated the use of bullying ‘slang translation’ software to monitor their student’s online communication for bullying behaviour. The software contains a dictionary of slang words students use when referring to bullying, self-harm, suicide or other problematic behaviour online. By spotting these words or acronyms in student communications, teachers can be alerted to potential cyberbullying acts.
Jonathan Valentine, the program’s developer, said, “We originally developed the software to deal with misbehaviour, but we decided to focus on e-safety and came up with the idea of a dictionary of certain words and phrases.”
After visiting UK schools and talking directly to students, Valentine created the list of acronyms and words used in the program’s dictionary, making it compatible with any UK school in the country. The dictionary contains words that deal with such problems as suicide, self-harm, sexting, grooming, racism, bullying, trolling and homophobia. Approximately 1,400 UK schools use the software to help teachers identify issues students may be having with any of these topics online.
Ultimately, parents are responsible for the safety and welfare of their children, including their online activity. Schools, however, need to share in that responsibility. Cyberbullying can occur just as much during school hours as it can at any other time in a young person’s life. Online bullying can take a toll on students’ academic performance, hindering students from reaching their full potential.
British School Teachers Getting Bullied Online
British youth aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch of cyberattacks. A 2015 survey of NASUWT (British teacher’s union) members revealed that more than twice as many teachers had abusive material posted about them on social sites over the last year.
Approximately 60% of the estimated 1,500 NASUWT members surveyed mentioned receiving offensive comments online in regards to their profession. Of these comments, about 48% came from pupils, 40% came from parents and about 12% were from both. About 57% of the students posting offensive material online were in the 14-16 age range; 38% were between 11-14 years old and about one fifth was aged 16-19.
Some examples of online bullying included bullies posting teachers’ photos with insulting captions or sending sexually explicit texts. Sometimes inappropriate photos or videos were uploaded of teachers without their consent. In one case, bullies set up a phoney social media account in a teacher’s name to post malicious content. The majority (64%) of teachers who were abused by parents on social media had received insulting comments about them or their performance.
Chris Keates, general secretary of NASUWT, expressed her concern about these cyberbullying cases by saying, “It is deeply worrying to see that the abuse of teachers has risen by such a huge margin this year. Equally concerning is that it appears that more parents are the perpetrators of the abuse. The vile, insulting and personal comments are taking their toll on teachers’ health and wellbeing and undermining their confidence to do their job.”
“Many teachers tell us that they suspect they are being abused online but dare not look, for fear they could never walk into their school again to have to face their abusers,” she continued. “While there has been some improvement in action taken on reported abuse, there are still too many cases where no appropriate action is taken and teachers are being left devastated, humiliated and traumatized.”
What Cyberbullying Trends are on the Rise in the UK?
Grooming, (sexting), trolling and cyberstalking are all on the rise in the UK, making it essential for British youth be on the lookout for possible confrontations in these areas.
In a 2013 National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) sexting survey, six out of 10 UK teens said they were asked for sexual photos and/or videos of themselves online. Of those who were asked, 40% said they created the images or videos and 25% said they actually texted the material to those who asked.
“These results show that sexting is increasingly a feature of adolescent relationships,” said Peter Wanless, head of the NSPCC agency. “It is almost becoming the norm that a young person in a relationship should share an explicit image of themselves.”
The 2013 NSPCC/Childline survey involved 450 teens from across the UK. It provided greater insight into young people’s attitudes and mindsets on the subject of sexting. Researchers also gleaned the following cyberbullying information from survey results:
- 58% of young people who texted explicit photos or videos to others said the images were sent to a boyfriend or girlfriend
- 33% said they were sent to an online acquaintance they’d never met
- 15% confessed the materials were sent to a perfect stranger
- Of those sending photos, 20% said they knew the photos were shared with others; 28% didn’t know if their photos were shared
- Over half of the teens surveyed reported being recipients of sexual photos or videos at some time; 33% said they had received sexting materials from strangers
Although it is legal in the UK for teens to have sexual contact at the age of 16, it’s a criminal offence to ‘take, hold or share “indecent” photos of anyone aged under 18’. According to the Association of Chief Police Officers, however, it wasn’t likely legal action would be taken against children who were sexting.
UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) handles sexual abuse/grooming cases online. Their main concern is the risk of bullies getting ahold of ‘sexual’ images. Jonathan Baggaley, Head of CEOP’s education department, explains: “What we’re seeing is abusers taking advantage and getting images out of young people and then blackmailing them for more by saying, ‘If you don’t do more for me, I’ll send these to your family and friends.’”
Many in British society are calling for government programs to educate British youth on the dangers of sexting. In 2014, online safety was incorporated into the IT curriculum in British schools. Primary school-age children as young as 5 years old will be able to benefit from this education. Some people feel schools should also cover the subject within a social health/sex education program.
Sue Berkowitz, UK Deputy Children’s Commissioner, feels there’s a great need for comprehensive sex education and relationships programs in British schools. “Sexting is not an IT issue, it’s a relationship issue,” she said. “It must cover things like sexting and use of mobile technology, as well as all other aspects of relationships and sex education.”
In 2015, the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) CEOP command initiated an anti-sexting campaign to deal with the issue of grooming. According to the command head, Zoe Hilton, “We’re getting reports of difficult and sometimes harmful situations which have come about because of sexting.” “With smartphones and tablets, and new apps emerging all the time, this behaviour is becoming quite normal for teenagers.”
“We’ve been doing a lot of work to educate young people about some of the consequences of sharing revealing images and videos. Through this campaign, we want to help parents and carers talk to their children about how to minimise the risks, and to make sure the right support is there if things do go wrong.”
The campaign is comprised of short animated films developed in conjunction with researchers at UK’s University of Edinburgh, Sweden’s University of Linkoping and the German charity group “Innocence in Danger”. Parents can view these films at www.thinkuknow.co.uk.
Wikipedia defines a ‘troll’ as “a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.”
In the UK, trolling has been hitting news headlines for years. In 2015, it was estimated that one out of every four teens experienced the hateful impact of trolling. Experts consider this figure a “wake-up call” on the seriousness of this behaviour. A British survey published by the UK Safer Internet Center involving 1,500 teens ages 13-18 revealed the inroads that Internet trolling has made in British society.
- Of the teens who experienced trolling, 24% were targeted because of their gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or physical or mental disability
- One out of 25 reported being abused regularly
- Four out of five teens had witnessed trolling within the last year
- 41% felt online hate incidents had increased within the last 12 months
According to survey results, teens who had disabilities or who were of minority group descent (African, Asian, Middle East, Caribbean) were at greater risk to be bullied. Social media platforms were the favoured medium for trolling incidents. The good news is that many people came to the support of victims, posting favourable content on their behalf. Approximately 93% of participants said they witnessed friends supporting victims online.
According to Will Gardner, Director, UK Safer Internet Center, “It is a wake-up call for all of us to play our part in helping create a better internet for all, to ensure that everyone can benefit from the opportunities that technology provides for building mutual respect and dialogue, facilitating rights, and empowering everyone to be able to express themselves and be themselves online – whoever they are.”
The extensive exposure of British youth to trolling has prompted the UK government to include this abusive behaviour in its laws against cyberbullying. The UK is currently in the process of reviewing existing cyberbullying laws against such crimes as harassment, revenge porn, stalking, identity theft, hate crime, cyber theft and grooming (sexting). The government proposes to create one law to cover all “misuse of digital technologies and services.”
In the meantime, trolling can be prosecuted as a crime under UK’s Communications Act wherein it is illegal to send messages or materials that are “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character by means of a public electronic communications network.”
According to 2015 statistics from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), trolling convictions have increased tenfold from 2004 to 2014, with up to five convictions being made daily. In 2014, approximately 1,500 people were indicted for trolling – 70 of which were juveniles. Of the defendants who were convicted, 155 were sentenced to jail. Those found guilty of these acts can be sentenced to prison for up to two years.
Individuals who create fake online accounts using personal data from victims with the intent of trolling under a false name will also be subject to criminal charges. According to Alison Saunders, Director of UK Public Prosecutions, “Offenders can mistakenly think that by using false online profiles and creating websites under a false name their offences are untraceable.
Thankfully, this is not the case, and an online footprint will be left by the offender.” This ‘online footprint’ can and will be used to prosecute such offenders. Both Facebook and Twitter already have measures in place to report bogus accounts.
In addition to coping with traditional stalking crimes, UK police must now contend with the growing problem of cyberstalking within the country. Cyberstalkers are individuals who use the Internet to infiltrate the lives of others with the intent of causing mischief and harm.
In some cases, cyber stalkers are complete strangers who become fixated on someone else’s life. In other cases, they are people victims know from the past such as an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend or disgruntled business partner who feels a colleague has done them wrong. Celebrities often suffer from cyberstalking from fans who are overly obsessed with their lives. However, anyone can be a victim of stalking activities.
Cyber stalkers utilize the Internet to pry into others’ lives. They may use such platforms as social media, personal websites, dating sites, chat rooms or emails to gather personal information about their victims’ relationships, family or jobs in order to perpetrate an attack.
New spyware software makes it easy for criminals to hack into victims’ email and social media accounts, monitor their movements and spy on their lives. In 2014, police training programs were initiated in various UK cities to help deal with digital stalking cases that were arising.
A survey of cyberstalking victims in the UK conducted by the non-profit organization Digital Trust revealed the following:
- Over 50% of cyberstalking victims had received offensive emails or messages online
- 37% reported having their online accounts hacked
- 25% claimed they were physically followed
- 11% reported the stalker caused damage to personal property
Jennifer Perry, CEO of Digital Trust, was greatly concerned over the escalating problem. “People who wouldn’t necessarily have stalked before,” she said, “are stalking now” due to having cheap access to spyware that gives them greater control over victims’ computers. With modern spyware software, criminals can infiltrate people’s online communications and even activate their webcams to see what’s happening within their homes.
According to psychologist Emma Short, a member of the UK’s National Center for Cyberstalking Research, Bedfordshire University, digital anonymity can also contribute to the increase of cyber stalking crimes. “There is a lot of research about what’s called ‘toxic disinhibition’,” she said. “The [personal] barriers that are removed can be a positive thing, but the effect (can) also make you much more likely to be disinhibited negatively. Very quickly things can become very abusive.”
Detective Jon Gilbert, head of Bedfordshire Police’s cybercrime team, explains the various laws police have at their disposal to handle cyber stalking crimes.
“There are offences under the Public Order Act, the Harassment Act, the Malicious Communications Act, specific offences of stalking, and even in extreme circumstances where there’s been a significant impact on a victim with emotional distress you could even be looking at an offence of causing Grievous Bodily Harm.”
“Stalking is a type of harassment,” he says, “and as a law enforcement agency, we would need to prove that a person is engaged in a course of conduct that’s causing harassment, alarm, distress and fear to another person. It’s about how the victim perceives the actions. Even things such as silent phone calls have been seen to be harassment due to the impact that they can have on other people.”
Cyberstalking can easily transition into real-life stalking at any time. Detective Gilbert encourages people who fear they may be victims of cyberstalking to report incidents to the police.
How Young People Should Handle Bullying Online
Not all young people are bullied online. It doesn’t hurt, however, for kids to be prepared for any eventuality. By being prepared, British teens and tweens are less likely to succumb emotionally if they find themselves the target of bullying online.
Kids should have someone they can turn to in case they are targeted by cyberbullies. A responsible adult can help young victims find perspective in cyberbullying incidents so they don’t get blown out of proportion. British youth also have the option of getting support from the Bullying UK helpline (0808-800-2222) or the email service found on the Family Lives website.
It’s important that parents and teens know what steps are available to them if bullied online.
On messaging sites such as WhatsApp, Whisper, Snapchat and Instagram, for example, young people can block bullies so they can’t see they’re online. They can also save messages or have them printed as evidence of being attacked.
Cyberattacks on social media can be reported to a person’s internet provider as well as the social site. Most all social network sites have report buttons for the purpose of helping them investigate bullying activity. Victims should collect and document all evidence of cyberbullying so they can prove their case once the culprits are found.
Online bullying at school can be reported to a teacher or school administrator. Workplace cyberbullying can be reported to a company manager or HR department.
Cyber stalking should be reported to British police. Online abuse that could have serious repercussions for victims should also be reported to the police.
Anti-Cyberbullying Legislation in the UK
Although bullying isn’t a ‘criminal offence’ in the UK, per se, the country does have laws for prosecuting threatening behaviour and communications, which can be used in bullying instances if applicable. Some Internet bullying activities can be considered criminal offences under the Malicious Communications Act.
Depending on the circumstances, UK prosecutors may utilize any one of the following laws to curtail bullying behaviour:
- The Public Order Act 1986
- The Malicious Communications Act 1988
- Protection from Harassment Act 1997
- Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003
- Breach of the Peace (Scotland)
- Defamation Act 2013
Over the years, there has been a global awakening to just how dangerous cyberbullying has become. As a result, many countries have enacted cyberbullying laws to help dissuade online bullying activities. The UK and Canada, as well as some U.S. states, have some of the strongest anti-online bullying legislation in the world.
Under the UK’s Malicious Communications Act, bullies can be imprisoned for 6 months or longer as well as have to pay a substantial fine if convicted of cyber offences. In the states of Idaho, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin, cyberbullying activities are considered misdemeanours punishable by prison sentences ranging from 3 months to one year or fines ranging from $500 to $2,500, depending on the crime.
Impact of Cyberbullying on British Society
In harming British youth, cyberbullying is undermining British society. The long-term effects of online bullying can be devastating for young victims, destroying their prospects for a happy and productive future. Internet bullying may have similar characteristics to traditional bullying, but the consequences are often much more severe.
Liam Hackett, founder of the UK anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label, said: “We asked people to rate the impact cyberbullying had on their lives on a scale of one to 10, with one being not severe and 10 being incredibly severe. On average, the effect on their self-esteem was 7.5 out of 10, which can go on to affect their social lives and their optimism for the future. (Cyberbullying) is having a massive impact on young people and it’s heartbreaking to read.”
Through social, political and educational programs, the UK can continue to research why people cyberbully and educate its young people on how to stop this threat. By increasing cyberbullying awareness, schools and local communities empower students to report online harassment and take a stance against it. The combined efforts of schools, parents and government agencies can do much to make Internet use safer for British society. A society that’s free of bullying in all its forms will provide a higher quality of life for its people.
A Guide to Cyber Bullying Facts in The United Kingdom
With today’s modern technology, young people are more inclined to use the Internet every day. The UK Council for Child Internet Safety reported that children aged 8-15 are avid Internet users and these children have the confidence that they can stay safe online. About only 2% of these children do not feel safe at all.
Young people use the Internet more and more each day for different reasons. They use it to research information to be used for their homework, to connect with their friends now that social networking is a big trend and they even use the Internet to do shopping or simply find anything that captures their interest. While the Internet can offer so much fun and information for everyone, it is not a guarantee that it is a safe place for everyone – especially for children.
The Negative Possibilities
What could go wrong in the age of modern technology? The advancements that technology offers have paved the way for more convenience in terms of reaching out to people all over the globe. In the past, people used to scribble messages on school walls or toilet stalls. Many of these messages can be mean in nature and be targeted toward a specific person. Today, these messages can be spread very easily through SMS, email or popular social networking sites. These examples are what are commonly known as cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is a form of violence that is usually targeted at teens and can cause lasting harm to the victims. There are plenty of facts on cyberbullying that are spread across the Internet to help those who would like to know more about it. Statistics show that cyberbullying is a growing problem among young people and by knowing more about cyberbullying in facts the UK, young people can help each other fight this social problem.
The Different Forms of CyberBullying
Typically, cyberbullying makes use of technology, such as the Internet and mobile gadgets, to torment people. Unfortunately, this social problem has taken on various forms, with the following as the common ones:
- Spreading rumours and gossip – With the birth of social media comes a faster way of sharing interesting news or articles, and at the same time – spreading rumours and gossip. This is quite a common form of cyberbullying among teens these days. Social media can be a very powerful tool because one post from a person can be spread to other people like wildfire. What cyberbullies usually do these days is to post something nasty about the victim and wait to see if it goes viral. Bullies should be aware that posting malicious things about someone can be a crime. At this age, it is better to be careful who to trust. Even your closest friends can be the source of the rumours and gossip.
- Blackmail – Blackmail is another rampant form of cyberbullying. This usually happens when young people meet new friends online and these “new friends” will pressure them to do something – most commonly lewd acts in front of the computer while being filmed. If the victim does not do his or her part, threats can be made against that person. In the United Kingdom, this form of violence is referred to as “grooming” and a person found guilty of such a crime will be jailed. It is important for young people to be careful when browsing the Internet, especially when talking to strangers or meeting new people. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is important to act promptly by informing an adult or the authorities about the blackmail attempt.
- Circulating Nasty Pictures – With the advent of mobile phones and mobile apps, taking pictures today can be as simple as clicking your phone and uploading it straight online. Some people like the idea of being photographed and uploaded online; others do not like it, especially if the picture is nothing pleasant. In addition, the manipulation of photos is common these days and can be used to spread online as a cyberbullying act.
- Stolen identity – Hacking into personal social media accounts and using someone’s profile to post something silly or embarrassing is another form of cyberbullying. To keep safe from this kind of situation, it is important to come up with a strong password for your social media accounts. Do not share your passwords – not even with your friends.
- Hateful comments – Since social media gives anyone the freedom to post anything, it has also become a place for hateful comments. It is a bit tempting to get back at someone for posting something unpleasant on your website, but the best approach is to delete these comments rather than make things worse by fighting fire with fire. There is also an option to block guest postings on your page if you totally want to avoid hateful or abusive comments.
- Sending Insulting Messages – Instant messaging can also be a platform for cyberbullying. While they are great applications to use to communicate with friends, they can also be used to harass people. If you are being harassed by nasty messages from people, you can easily block them off so you will stop receiving messages from them. If not, you can always take a screenshot of the nasty messages and use them as evidence.
- Online Threats – It is a criminal offence in the UK to send someone threats on the Internet. If you are a victim of online threats, it is best to notify your parents so they can inform the school or make a complaint to the authorities. The best way to deal with this is to take a screenshot of the online threats received and use this as evidence.
Why Bullying Happens
Young people are bullied for various reasons. It could be because the victim is of a different skin colour or race, or it could be that the bullied person has a different religion or beliefs. Sexual orientation and even appearance can also be a cause for bullying. While most of these reasons are common, there are also people who get bullied for no apparent reason.
Cyberbullying is a growing problem that not only happens inside the school but also outside. Any act of violence against young people with the use of technology such as mobile phones is considered cyberbullying.
The Effects of Cyberbullying
Bullying in general can be damaging to the victim. It can result in depression, anxiety and even suicide. The sad thing about cyberbullying is that once it hits the Internet and the nasty posts go viral, it will be hard to erase them. Most likely, they will resurface and continue to haunt the victim for a long time.
Many of these bullies think it is cool to bully someone online and some people may even think it is funny. These tormentors do not know the effects the act has on the victim. What they do not realize is that what gets posted on the Internet about the victim could result in a bad image for that person especially when the victim decides to apply for college or work in the future. With movements against cyberbullying, it is possible that bullies will be stripped of their rights to use mobile phones.
Parents of these tormentors may also face legal charges. In cases when cyberbullying is sexually offensive in nature, the bully could be considered a sex offender. Some bullies may be confident in thinking that they cannot be traced when harassing someone under a different name or a fake social media account, but if proper measures are taken, the cyberbully can be tracked.
Bullying can cause misery to someone’s life and take a toll on the emotions and social life of the victim. It destroys confidence and self-esteem and victims will usually fear for their safety as well. Because bullying can be detrimental to emotions, victims usually harbour suicidal thoughts which may ultimately lead to suicide.
It is normal to feel isolated when you are constantly being bullied. You will start to feel withdrawn and it will be hard for you to interact socially. In such cases, it is important to get help from the right people. You can help put an end to bullying if you start talking to someone.
Asking someone for help does not mean that you are weak. Keep in mind that it is the first step to ending the emotional torture. Everyone should be able to feel safe in school or outside of school and it is the responsibility of the school to let children feel that bullying is definitely unacceptable.
If you are willing, there are many people and even organizations to turn to for help. Reading cyberbullying facts for kids can also provide useful information on how to tackle bullying. Find someone you can trust – it could be your parents, your teacher or a longtime friend. If you are hesitant to talk about your situation even if these people are trustworthy, you can just leave them a note. While you may think talking to someone about bullying may only make things worse, it is actually the opposite.
There are also organizations in the UK that are against bullying. To gain the support of people who fight against bullying, you will have to provide evidence that you are being bullied. In the case of cyberbullying, it is rather easy since you can just print it out or show a screenshot of the nasty texts or emails that you received from bullies.
Being around the right people can also help. Keep your distance from known bullies and always be around people you feel safe with. Fighting back may be tempting but it is never the answer since you can get in trouble or hurt yourself. The school can also play an important role in the fight against bullying of any form. Ask your school about its policies when it comes to bullying.
Advice for Parents of the Bullied
Parents can also feel hurt when they know their child is being bullied, but they should know that there are ways to solve the problem. In the UK, different organizations exist to help stop bullying. You do not have to be alone in the fight against bullying.
The first thing you need to remember is to just keep your ears and mind open when your child tells you that he or she is being bullied. As a parent, you need to encourage your child to communicate with you freely and give reassurance that speaking out is alright. The next thing you can do is to talk to the school administration about the bullying incident.
It can be difficult to know if your child is suffering from bullying since most children keep this type of situation to themselves especially when they are being abused. It can be from the fear of being embarrassed or they just do not feel that telling someone can solve the problem. If you have a slight suspicion that your child is being bullied, you need to take action.
There are indications which can easily tell you that your child is being bullied. When you observe that your child has scratches or bruises on his or her body, it could be a sign. A child who has trouble focusing on schoolwork for no apparent reason may be suffering from emotional problems silently. In addition, if you find that your child seems to be more irritable than usual or is very emotional, there could be a problem.
Informing the school about bullying incidents is also a vital step to putting an end to bullying. It will help if you ask your child who he or she feels comfortable with since there may be a particular teacher that your child chooses to confide in. It is important to bring to light any cyberbullying situations to the school administration so that they can also take part in fighting against such offences.
Never Tolerate It
Bullying in any form is never acceptable. It is unfortunate that bullying has evolved into a faster way of harassing individuals with the advent of modern technology. However, the good news is that there are different groups that stand against cyberbullying. If you act fast enough, there is always a way to end cyberbullying.
http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html, http://choicesforlifeonline.org/cards/online-safety-and-cyberbullying-the-facts-for-teachers.aspx, http://www.bullying.co.uk/cyberbullying/what-is-cyberbullying/
Cyberbullying is a growing problem in the UK and around the world. This can take many forms and can have long term implications that we are only starting to grasp the extent of. While it may seem like it may not have the same effect on a person because it is behind the veil of a computer screen, the truth is that it can be just as damaging to the victim of the attack. Here are a few things you should know about cyberbullying.
What is Cyberbullying?
One of the first questions many parents ask with this is what does cyberbullying mean? When you look at the cyberbullying definition you will see that this is really no different than any other type of bullying except that it takes place online. The problem with looking at this definition of cyberbullying is that it really does not look at the underlying differences that this form of bullying actually leaves behind.
Unlike bullying in person, cyberbullying is something that can happen at any time of the day. As soon as a person goes online or gets a notification they will be able to see what the bully has posted. In some cases, the content can be deleted, though in other cases it is not that simple.
This means that the words, picture or video that is doing the damage is there for the victim to continually look at and see. In a way, this is very much like words spoken by a bully being repeated again and again to the person. This can make it even harder for a person to deal with the bullying since there is nothing they can do to change the situation.
This form of bullying is much more public than other types of bullying. Since almost everyone has access to the Internet, it is out there for the world to see. This is also the age of sharing posts and making things to viral. This means that before a person has realised what has been posted about them, everyone they know may have already seen it.
Another difference with cyberbullying is that when people are behind a computer screen, they have a decreased sense of personal responsibility, which makes them act in more heinous ways than they would in the real world. Along with this, bullies often create multiple accounts so if one of the accounts they are using gets blocked, they can always just use another to continue their barrage.
Who Can be a Victim of Cyberbullying?
Most people think of bullying as occurring in younger generations, especially teens and young adults. The truth of the matter is that cyberbullying can happen to anyone at any time. It does not matter what age, gender, race or another qualifier a person has. Here are a few facts about cyberbullying in the UK that you should know:
- 26% of all young people have reported having been the victim of some form of cyberbullying at one point in their life
- 5% of victims in cyberbullying cases self-harmed
- 3% of attempted suicides are the result of cyberbullying
- 28% of people have been the victim of cyberbullying on Twitter
- Younger people are twice as likely to be a victim of cyberbullying on Facebook than on any other social media site
- On Facebook, the most bullied demographic is 19-year-old males
- 20% of children who have been victims of cyberbullying are afraid to go to school for fear of the ridicule they will endure on account of the attack
- Only 37% of victims of cyberbullying ever report it to the site, making it even harder to put a stop to this behaviour
There are reports that show that cyberbullying is on the rise. According to BBC News, the charity ChildLine has reported an increase over the last few years in cyberbullying. In 2011-2012 the charity documented 2,410 cases. In 2012-2013, they saw almost double that number at 4,507. In another report released by the charity BeatBullying, 65% of the bullying cases seen are cyberbullying, with the rest being in person.
The Effects of Cyberbullying
Now the effects that cyberbullying will have on a person are dependent on a number of aspects, specifically in the way the person processes emotional aspects of their life. The degree to which a person may allow the bullying to affect their life will vary but some of the most common effects cyberbullying have on children and teens include:
- A decrease in grades
- A decrease in self-esteem
- May start acting out or skipping school
- There is an increased chance of in-person bullying- especially if the cyberbullying was visible to the child’s peers
- The child may become withdrawn and not want to go to school or social functions
- In many cases, health problems may even arise
These are often the first signs of bullying that parents notice from their children. They may also notice that their child has had a change in their personality or other indications of bullying. As soon as these signs are noticed, it is important to do something about the situation promptly.
There are several stories of people who have been victims of cyberbullying. Many you will never hear about. Hannah Smith was a 14-year-old girl from Luterworth, Leicestershire who was on the site ask.fm. Here she received many abusive messages that told her to “go get cancer”, “drink bleach” and “die.” Sadly her parents found these messages after they found that their daughter hanged herself.
Ciara Pugsley was a 15-year-old girl from Ireland who had everything to live for. She was active in school sports and seemed to enjoy life. She also had an account on Ask.fm and the posts to her on this site made her kill herself. Her body was found in the woods. Another 15 year old to commit suicide after cyberbullying was Joshua Unsworth of Goosnargh. He had suffered ongoing cyberbullying and even made an anti-suicide video a few months before he hanged himself behind his home.
Methods of Cyberbullying
There are many different methods that cyberbullying can take on. Each of these can be damaging to any person’s emotional well being and are never acceptable. However, it is important to understand the issues that your child or teen may face so that you can know how to handle the different situations.
Direct Message Bullying
This is when a person will send a person a direct message that is insulting or even threatening. In some cases, this may be from someone the person knows or it may even be from a complete stranger. This can happen on just about any social media site as well as on instant messaging services.
When it occurs on social media sites, the best way to handle the situation is to block the person that is bullying. Unfortunately, this may become a recurring problem if the bully is persistent and continues to use different accounts. Keep in mind that direct messages can also take the form of text messages as well.
This is a huge problem in the UK with cyber attacks. Bullies will often hack into an account of a person and pretend to be them by posting things they may not want others to know. The new implementations on sites such as Facebook, can allow the bully to post pictures and videos without the person’s permission.
Getting the account back can be difficult, especially if the bully changes the password to something that the person does not know. This is why it is important to have a strong and secure password. Use different passwords on each site and stress the importance of keeping passwords private, even from friends and significant others.
Starting Rumours or Gossip
Rumours and gossip are normal with teens, though people of all ages can love to gossip. However, when scandalous posts, especially those that are not true, are posted online, it can be devastating to those involved. Even if the rumours are true, it is often confidential information that a person may not want to get out, which can be just as humiliating for those involved.
This is a serious issue, especially considering that it is illegal. There are laws that prevent people from causing distress and alarm over their phones and the internet. Along with this, the Harassment Act of 1997 also helps to protect people from situations such as this.
If you or someone you know is being threatened by someone else online, the best thing you can do is print out the online conversation and take it to the authorities. If you cannot see a way to print out the page, simply hit the print screen as this is essentially a screenshot that you can then paste into a Word document or even paint to save.
This goes right along with threats, as it is also illegal. The problem is that it often is more personal than threats are. In many cases, the bully in these situations is someone who was once close with the victim, either a best friend or boyfriend or girlfriend. They usually have something incriminating, such as information or a picture that the person does not want to get out.
Then a demand is made with the threat of releasing this private information. It is important to note that when you have pictures or videos saved on your mobile devices or computers, if they are not stored securely, then hackers can get to this information which could open you up to being a victim of cyberbullying.
These are often the most common forms of cyberbullying out there. This is because people often referred to as internet trolls, love to say horrible things to others simply to get a rise out of them. While the other person gets a rise out of it, the victim is left demoralized and in some cases, others may join in with the nasty comments.
The best thing to do in these cases is to delete the comments, block the offenders and if the situation continues, then report the abuse on the site. Almost all social media sites out there have specific rules and policies in place to handle bullying.
Whether it is naked pictures or an embarrassing picture, if it is something you do not want the world to see and someone posts it anyway, then it can be considered cyberbullying- if it is done in a malicious manner. There is a huge push in schools to educate children about the dangers of posting unwanted pictures of people online.
In many cases, the bully may tag a person just so all of the person’s friends can see the picture. Even if the person is not tagged, the picture is still out there and may stay online forever. There are ways to get it removed, but the best course of action is to be careful about the pictures you are taking in the first place.
This is a term that is used to describe a physical attack, generally one or more persons, hitting someone who has no clue what is about to happen while someone else films the incident. They then post the video online for the world to see. Not only is the victim physically injured in this incident- and in some cases even killed- they must also then relive the ordeal online. You should know that this is an illegal action that is actually a combination of several criminal offences.
How to Support a Victim of Cyberbullying
If your child or someone else you care about is the victim of cyberbullying, one of the best things you can do is to be there to support them through this time. This can be a difficult time for anyone and having someone that loves and cares for them can be a tremendous help. There are a few other things you can do to help the person through this.
The first thing you will want to do is find a way to stop the abuse. This will be different depending on the type of cyberbullying that is occurring. For instance, if your teen is receiving nasty direct messages from someone, then simply block the person and then print out the offending information so that you can report it to the police. While reporting the incident to the police will not make the issue disappear, it is the first step to resolving the problem.
It can also be helpful to find a support group for the person. There are many groups, both in local cities as well as online, where people can get together to discuss bullying. It can be a helpful way for your child to work through the emotions that they are feeling with this. Even though they may know that mean comments said about them are untrue, the words can still hurt long after the incident is over with.
When looking at the cyberbullying facts, it is easy to see that this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Make sure that you help your child to understand online dangers and how they can help keep from becoming a victim of cyberbullying. While there is no way to prevent this from ever happening, there are things you can do to avoid it. If you or someone you love is experiencing cyberbullying, call the helpline for bullying at 0808 800 2222 today.