How To Deal With Cyber-Bullying?
KEN: We are live, Sharon, good morning.
SHARON WITT: Good morning. I’m a bit focused, I’ve just been, horning into this jam that I’ve got in a car
LUCY: Must be a bit of a jam. Jam thing and donuts.
SHARON WITT: Who did put you into this studio?
KEN: Well, thank you for coming in because this topic has go, has blew us away, that Australia was the worst country in the world for cyber bullying on social networks.
SHARON WITT: Yeah, this really, it really upsets me, but it’s also something I deal with constantly. Probably one of the biggest things as an educator, as a parenting expert, this is one of the things that comes up so much. Because, our kids, even though they are digitally natives and they are part of this community that, you know. The digital world is fantastic for many things but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. And our, many of our teens and our children just don’t realize the ramifications of bullying online.
SHARON WITT: They just don’t have that fortitude to think in a few years time, it could be someone in ten years time still struggling with something that’s happened online.
LUCY: And people will tell things that they will never say to you face to face. It’s incredible.
SHARON WITT: And it really quickly gains traction. I was, I have a lot of parents, when I was talking about this topic, contacted me the last few days and one mom was saying, you know, just very quickly, one person can comment on a photograph and it can then just snowball and everyone just starts popping in, before you know it you’ve got a hundred comments about, you know, someone it’s a bit derogatory. And there you go, it takes a life of its own.
LUCY: Can I just say from personal experience of my teenage daughter. She wasn’t really into computer stuff at all. We made a fatal mistake, not fatal mistake but a big mistake of allowing her to have a computer in her room. Came, then she got into Facebook, got into all the social media when she was older and it just snowballs. People write things and she’s up late at night looking at it and you just can’t monitor it. Can I encourage all parents, put your computers in public spaces, cause, so you can know what’s going on cause these stuff does happen.
KEN: But Lucy, there’s also social media on your phone, so what do you do? What’s a great way to be monitored it as far as the parent goes?
SHARON WITT: Yeah. Well, I think that sort what I think is really good to set to actually, as a term is what is cyber bullying, so it’s basically anything that is using a carrier servers, suddenly I sound like a policeman here,but a carrier server to actually cause offense to someone. So it’s actually uploading photos that without someone’s permission. It’s, you know, abusing them, that’s just, it’s gossiping, it’s all those sorts of stuff that happens online. And basically, I would say that. To children that anything you wouldn’t say if the person was in the room you just don’t say. But basically, what can parents do? Well, actually, first of all, how do you know if your child is being cyber-bullied? Because many kids actually don’t speak, don’t speak out, don’t tell people.
KEN: So, how can you tell?
SHARON WITT: And the reason why they don’t is they think they’re gonna lose their online privileges.
LUCY: Privileges, yeah.
SHARON WITT: Usually, you would notice that the child might be disinterested in things that they normally would be interested in, so withdrawal from social activities. Refusing to go to school is a big one because often the perpetuators are people that are at school and the first thing the child doesn’t want to go to school. Andanxiety, depression, lack of sleep and in the actual, you know, severe cases we’ve had reports of people suiciding over cyber-bullying. It’s been in the media, we know it happens. But I think parents really need to be vigilant. If you notice that your child is just not themselves, you need to dig deeper. And sometimes that’s very difficult because kids don’t wanna tell often because they’re scared. One of the ramifications that not one knowing about it at school and also, you know, your parent will go up to the school and they don’t wanna lose their online privileges. Many of them think as soon as they tell their parents, “right, you’re off that stupid Facebook”. And you know, this is about teaching kids to be responsible. It’s not about taking, you can’t take it away.
LUCY: And how to respond when this stuff is sighting to happen?
SHARON WITT: Yeah. Most important thing is, parents, they need to be vigilant. They need to save and print evidence, so save it. Encourage your child to take a bit of a Facebook holiday for a week if that is actually happening. Just to take a break. Block and report, actually show your child how to block and report to police. Usually, you know, after a week or so, they will leave you alone if you just block them. But if it does continue, go up to the school, if it’s actually happening at, you know with school children.
SHARON WITT: And, get, go to the police if it actually gets really bad. Go to the police and talk to them about it.
KEN: Awesome, awesome tips there Sharon.
LUCY: This is so important.
SHARON WITT: Absolutely. We can talk about this for now. I think we need to revisit it.
LUCY: Sharon you are gonna keep talking about this and talk about it some more at the Auxiliary College in Chirnside Parktomorrow evening.
SHARON WITT: Yes, 7:30 tomorrow night, actually I’m doing a parent night. Come along and say hi.
KEN: Well, thank you Sharon. We’ll catch you next week here.
SHARON WITT: Have a great day guys.
KEN: Thank you so much.