Cyberbullying during Covid

“Cyberbullying is on the rise during Covid, how to prepare & prevent?"


Larissa Mills, founder Iparentgen.com, B.A., M. Ed.

Things you need to know about Cyberbullying as a parent, teacher, coach or medical professional.

  1. What is Cyberbullying? 
  2. Statistics about cyberbullying.
  3. What if your child is a victim of cyberbullying?
  4. What to do if someone you know is victum to cyberbullying?
  5. What can adults do about cyberbullying?
  6. Here are the legalities you should know as parents.
Here are two Chapters from Larissa’s new ebook, “How to be a good parent in the age of Technology”. It will be available Aug. 1.
Cyberbullying can happen 24-7 all day now. It used to be just at school, now, it is everywhere your child takes their phone.

CHAPTER 10 CYBERBULLYING, HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR CHILD?

As found on the RCMP Website.

“Cyberbullying involves the use of communication technologies such as the Internet, social networking sites, websites, email, text messaging and instant messaging to repeatedly intimidate or harass others.”

In 90% of bullying incidents, peers are present and watching. Yet, bullying often stops within 10 seconds when bystanders intervene. (PREVNet).

Cyberbullying includes:

  • Sending mean or threatening emails or text/instant messages.
  • Posting embarrassing photos of someone online.
  • Creating a website to make fun of others.
  • Pretending to be someone by using their name.
  • Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others.
  • It can happen 24-7 all day now. It used to be just at school, now, it is everywhere your child takes their phone.

*This is the definition of Cyberbullying as stated by the RCMP.

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cycp-cpcj/bull-inti/index-eng.htm to read the entire document.

90% of bullying stops if someone shuts it down in the first 10 seconds

Here are some staggering statistics about Cyberbullying, from the US and Canada

  • 90% of bullying stops if someone shuts it down in the first 10 seconds
  • 47% percent of parents report their child has been bullied
  • Girls are more likely to be bullied online than in person
  • Over 37% of children between 13-17 have been bullied online
  • Instagram is the number one social media platform where cyberbullying occurs when surveyed. I believe SnapChat is however,  is worth mentioning here, as the pictures and dialogue disappear quickly, we won’t have exact stats.
  • About half of LGBTQ+ students experience online harassment -- a rate higher than average
  • 95% of teens in the U.S. are online, and the vast majority access the internet on their mobile device, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying
  • 83% of young people believe social media companies should be doing more to tackle cyberbullying on their platforms
  • 60% of young people have witnessed online bullying. Most do not intervene
  • Only 1 in 10 ten victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse
  • Anxiety, Depression and Suicides have tripled. Paediatricians, family doctors and psychiatrists are extremely concerned. 

REFERENCES:

    Escalation of bullying happens at home thanks to phones.

    Cyberbullying affects victims in different ways than traditional bullying. It can follow a victim everywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at school, at home, at practice, at the mall, and all the way to the comfort of their own home. Home is traditionally where a child feels the safest from bullying years ago, not now. Escalation of bullying happens at home thanks to phones.

    What can you do if your child is victim to cyberbullying?

      • Walk away or leave the online conversation.
      • Keep track of the bullying (write it down and/or save a screenshot of the online message).
      • Tell a trusted adult. If you don't trust anyone or need to speak with someone urgently, contact the confidential and toll-free Kids Help Phone.
      • Report the bullying to school administrators.
      • Report criminal offences, such as threats, assaults and sexual exploitation to the local police detachment.
      • Report unwanted text messages to your telephone service provider.
      • Report online bullying to the social media site and block the person responsible.

      What to do if someone you know is being bullied?

          • If you feel it's safe to do so, tell the bully to stop.
          • Find friends/students/youth or an adult who can help stop it.
          • Befriend the person being bullied and lead them away from the situation.
          • Report it to a teacher or school staff, counsellor.
          • Fill out an anonymous letter and drop it off to a teacher or any adult you trust.
          • Ask your child to speak to them and seek adult help.
          • Teach your child to stand up to bullies

        What can Adults do about Bullying?

        If you know or think that a child is a victim from bullying...

        • Talk to them - Let them know that they can trust you and that they shouldn't deal with bullying alone.
        • Help them:
          • document the bullying;
          • report unwanted text messages to their telephone service provider, or cyberbullying to social media sites or apps;
          • report the bullying to school administrators; and
          • report criminal offences, such as threats, assaults, harassment and sexual exploitation to the local police detachment.

        *I would suggest covering and discussing all of these laws and how they can affect your children in their cyber world. Some children cannot separate themselves from real life and their digital life.  Many children have been charged with these counts.  More criminal charges and civil suits are on the rise. Make sure your child is not a statistic. Be sure your online village is safe from these criminal acts and statistics of bullying.

        Parents, what should you do about cyberbullying? It will be tough, but you have to step in and talk to the parents.

        •  First, tell the appropriate parties

        Yes, it will be uncomfortable, but when it affects the mental health of your children or another, say something. We are the adults and need to speak up regardless of how this may be awkward. Don’t put problems under the mat and think they will solve themselves. 

        • Who should I speak to? 

        If the bullying occurs at home and not on school property, you have to approach the parents. If the bullying transfers to school during the day, speak to the Principal or teacher. Staff will happily manage the problem. Just remember, there is a high percentage of these cases that will continue. A high percentage of the parents of bullies, will deny all claims and do not realize that they are defending their child. In these cases, the behaviour won’t stop until parents realize their child is the problem. For this to occur it usually takes several parents to talk to a parent of the bully and the school staff.

        • Other strategies for parents to try.

        There is hope. Reaching out to the other parents and asking them if they have seen anything going on? If they have experienced bullying from anyone to their child? 

          • Don’t implicate anyone yet. 
          • Less screen time sometimes works for a child. As mentioned, starting a new chat group without the bully usually shuts it down. 
          • What if the ring leader is the popular one? Well, this is common. Approaching the teacher and principal with evidence and asking the parent to attend a meeting with the evidence provided typically brings this to a stop. When parents are being told things from the teacher, principal and other parents about this with collected evidence, it is hard to defend the child and discipline should begin. 
          • Children thrive with rules and boundaries, if they don’t have them in a teachers classroom chaos begins. That is why teachers can manage 30 kids. Children need to know the rules and expectations consequences too. This type of non disciplatory parent or protective parent is a fairly new type of parent in the last 10 years. Teachers, administrators, coaches feel this type of protective parent that denies their child and can do no wrong are often not disciplining their child at home when they have committed an unwanted behaviour.

        Principals and Teachers see bullying more than most, they are experts at managing it. However, not all of the scenarios have the happy endings they should. Principals are more frustrated that bullying keeps increasing.

        One piece of advice a principal shared with me was, “If your child is involved in an altercation at school, your child is 50% responsible. It takes two. Be an adult and show your children what mediation really looks like”.  Another administrator mentioned that if you listen to both children involved, there is usually enough evidence that will shine through on the guilty party.

        • If there is bullying, nip it in the BUTT.
          • Talk to all involved immediately. But, here are a few tips before you approach another parent.
          • Don’t rush out; wait 24 hours before you do anything.
          • Take the time to cool down first, as this is often the most difficult thing to do. It is very, very hard to calm down, but it does help to bring back perspective by focusing on possible solutions and strategies.
          • Wait, collect more evidence. Installing apps on you children’s phones protects them more than a phone without one.
          “Teaching our children to stand up for their friends from an early age will go a long way to putting a stop to bullying when it starts.”

          STRATEGIES TO REMOVE BULLIES ONLINE.

          These are collected from different parents and teachers that seemed to have worked for their children or students.

          • Remove the bully from your group.
          • Create a new group without them. Yes, I can hear some of you poopooing this notion.  However,  it really helps to set the right tone to the (bully) to behave better and move forward with no stress in that group.
          • Staying off all media that relates to the bully for a while can help. This can be done as a group.
          • Teaching your child and educating them about why bullies bully and how to deal with them is your best bet. 
          • Teach your child the laws about cyberbullying and provide examples of each that are applicable to them. 
          • I want to repeat the RCMP’s statement here.

          “Teaching our children to stand up for their friends from an early age will go a long way to putting a stop to bullying when it starts.” This stops bullying in just a few seconds.

            Things you need to know about Cyberbullying as a parent, teacher, coach or medical professional.

            1. What is Cyberbullying? 
            2. Statistics about cyberbullying.
            3. What if your child is a victim of cyberbullying?
            4. What to do if someone you know is victum to cyberbullying?
            5. What can adults do about cyberbullying?
            6. Here are the legalities you should know as parents.
            Here are two Chapters from Larissa’s new ebook, “How to be a good parent in the age of Technology”. It will be available Aug. 1.
            Cyberbullying can happen 24-7 all day now. It used to be just at school, now, it is everywhere your child takes their phone.
            90% of bullying stops if someone shuts it down in the first 10 seconds

            Here are some staggering statistics about Cyberbullying, from the US and Canada

            • 90% of bullying stops if someone shuts it down in the first 10 seconds
            • 47% percent of parents report their child has been bullied
            • Girls are more likely to be bullied online than in person
            • Over 37% of children between 13-17 have been bullied online
            • Instagram is the number one social media platform where cyberbullying occurs when surveyed. I believe SnapChat is however,  is worth mentioning here, as the pictures and dialogue disappear quickly, we won’t have exact stats.
            • About half of LGBTQ+ students experience online harassment -- a rate higher than average
            • 95% of teens in the U.S. are online, and the vast majority access the internet on their mobile device, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying
            • 83% of young people believe social media companies should be doing more to tackle cyberbullying on their platforms
            • 60% of young people have witnessed online bullying. Most do not intervene
            • Only 1 in 10 ten victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse
            • Anxiety, Depression and Suicides have tripled. Paediatricians, family doctors and psychiatrists are extremely concerned. 

            REFERENCES:

              Escalation of bullying happens at home thanks to phones.

              Cyberbullying affects victims in different ways than traditional bullying. It can follow a victim everywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at school, at home, at practice, at the mall, and all the way to the comfort of their own home. Home is traditionally where a child feels the safest from bullying years ago, not now. Escalation of bullying happens at home thanks to phones.

              What can you do if your child is victim to cyberbullying?

                • Walk away or leave the online conversation.
                • Keep track of the bullying (write it down and/or save a screenshot of the online message).
                • Tell a trusted adult. If you don't trust anyone or need to speak with someone urgently, contact the confidential and toll-free Kids Help Phone.
                • Report the bullying to school administrators.
                • Report criminal offences, such as threats, assaults and sexual exploitation to the local police detachment.
                • Report unwanted text messages to your telephone service provider.
                • Report online bullying to the social media site and block the person responsible.

                What to do if someone you know is being bullied?

                    • If you feel it's safe to do so, tell the bully to stop.
                    • Find friends/students/youth or an adult who can help stop it.
                    • Befriend the person being bullied and lead them away from the situation.
                    • Report it to a teacher or school staff, counsellor.
                    • Fill out an anonymous letter and drop it off to a teacher or any adult you trust.
                    • Ask your child to speak to them and seek adult help.
                    • Teach your child to stand up to bullies

                  What can Adults do about Bullying?

                  If you know or think that a child is a victim from bullying...

                  • Talk to them - Let them know that they can trust you and that they shouldn't deal with bullying alone.
                  • Help them:
                    • document the bullying;
                    • report unwanted text messages to their telephone service provider, or cyberbullying to social media sites or apps;
                    • report the bullying to school administrators; and
                    • report criminal offences, such as threats, assaults, harassment and sexual exploitation to the local police detachment.

                  *I would suggest covering and discussing all of these laws and how they can affect your children in their cyber world. Some children cannot separate themselves from real life and their digital life.  Many children have been charged with these counts.  More criminal charges and civil suits are on the rise. Make sure your child is not a statistic. Be sure your online village is safe from these criminal acts and statistics of bullying.

                  Parents, what should you do about cyberbullying? It will be tough, but you have to step in and talk to the parents.

                  •  First, tell the appropriate parties

                  Yes, it will be uncomfortable, but when it affects the mental health of your children or another, say something. We are the adults and need to speak up regardless of how this may be awkward. Don’t put problems under the mat and think they will solve themselves. 

                  • Who should I speak to? 

                  If the bullying occurs at home and not on school property, you have to approach the parents. If the bullying transfers to school during the day, speak to the Principal or teacher. Staff will happily manage the problem. Just remember, there is a high percentage of these cases that will continue. A high percentage of the parents of bullies, will deny all claims and do not realize that they are defending their child. In these cases, the behaviour won’t stop until parents realize their child is the problem. For this to occur it usually takes several parents to talk to a parent of the bully and the school staff.

                  • Other strategies for parents to try.

                  There is hope. Reaching out to the other parents and asking them if they have seen anything going on? If they have experienced bullying from anyone to their child? 

                    • Don’t implicate anyone yet. 
                    • Less screen time sometimes works for a child. As mentioned, starting a new chat group without the bully usually shuts it down. 
                    • What if the ring leader is the popular one? Well, this is common. Approaching the teacher and principal with evidence and asking the parent to attend a meeting with the evidence provided typically brings this to a stop. When parents are being told things from the teacher, principal and other parents about this with collected evidence, it is hard to defend the child and discipline should begin. 
                    • Children thrive with rules and boundaries, if they don’t have them in a teachers classroom chaos begins. That is why teachers can manage 30 kids. Children need to know the rules and expectations consequences too. This type of non disciplatory parent or protective parent is a fairly new type of parent in the last 10 years. Teachers, administrators, coaches feel this type of protective parent that denies their child and can do no wrong are often not disciplining their child at home when they have committed an unwanted behaviour.

                  Principals and Teachers see bullying more than most, they are experts at managing it. However, not all of the scenarios have the happy endings they should. Principals are more frustrated that bullying keeps increasing.

                  One piece of advice a principal shared with me was, “If your child is involved in an altercation at school, your child is 50% responsible. It takes two. Be an adult and show your children what mediation really looks like”.  Another administrator mentioned that if you listen to both children involved, there is usually enough evidence that will shine through on the guilty party.

                  • If there is bullying, nip it in the BUTT.
                    • Talk to all involved immediately. But, here are a few tips before you approach another parent.
                    • Don’t rush out; wait 24 hours before you do anything.
                    • Take the time to cool down first, as this is often the most difficult thing to do. It is very, very hard to calm down, but it does help to bring back perspective by focusing on possible solutions and strategies.
                    • Wait, collect more evidence. Installing apps on you children’s phones protects them more than a phone without one.

                    CHAPTER 11 APPROACHING ANOTHER PARENT ABOUT BULLYING

                    14 TIPS to HELP

                    Here are some strategies to remember when you initiate a talk with another parent. 

                    1. If both parties are mature and responsible, it will be successful. If the parties are acting unprofessionally, well, you tried and at least the other parent is now aware of what is happening. 
                    2. Take it one step further and tell the teacher and principal. I would bet this child has a history or is known to other parents, although not always.
                    3. Unfortunately, the parents of the bully often become defensive and most times don’t discipline the child or talk to their child about the unwanted behaviour. They blame everyone else for the behaviour and defend their own child for the bullying. This is a hard pill to swallow.
                    4. Remember one thing, “Ususallly your child is 50% responsible if there has been some type of issue but not always.” If you think your child will never make a mistake or do something wrong, you are very wrong. We all need to understand this. My child makes mistakes and owns them, well, the ones I find out about. That is the key, you have to know about them. If your child is telling the truth, then and the bullying is mostly coming from one identified child, then you can breathe a little.
                    5. If your child is involved, they could be in the wrong (ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT) and tell their parents something different than what has really happened. Children will lie to protect their relationship with you. It is both natural and normal for the most part. Something to be watched though.
                    6. Be sure to investigate and gather all the facts as best you can. It is best to be as mature as possible.
                    7. Don’t involve the school if this happens at home. If bullying continues at school then speak to the principal, teachers, or local police.
                    8. Remember, your child could be ‘the bully’ and you are responsible for their actions. It is hard to hear, but they could be.
                    9. Put yourself in a different body or wear a different hat; speak to the facts and not from a defensive parent’s perspective. This is extremely difficult.  Always demonstrate how situations can be worked out rationally by sticking to facts and keeping calm.
                    10. You need some type of evidence to share with the other parents. Be careful if the subject is about sending out ‘the breakup nude photo” or any nude photos. You cannot distribute them. From what the RCMP site states, I would call and ask what to do. Take a screenshot of the photo on the phone it is on. This way you have it on a phone. You cannot send it to anyone - that is illegal.
                    11. Write down all the facts you wish to discuss. Make sure they are valid to your argument and discussion.
                    12. Stick to your notes and as long as you come forward, you can be content knowing you did the right thing. Many of the administrators told me in interviews that mediating between two sets of parents over a bullying scenario is one of the worst parts of their job. Parents start fighting between each other and swearing, it becomes quite volatile.  I would like to share here, that administrators wish this didn’t take up almost 60% of their time. Many said, “It is hard to watch parents playing ‘the blaming game’ instead of ‘the resolving game.” Some parents’ children are the bully and have done horrible things, yet some parents give NO consequences to their children even after the school has given their consequences. This is one of the main issues in education that requires parents to act. 
                    13. Generally, your administrators have seen and managed many of these cases and know exactly what they are doing. Trust them and listen to what they are saying, give them their respect. They are more than willing to help you through these situations.
                    14. Remain calm and stick to the facts.  If it does escalate and you are losing your cool in front of children, ask to leave for a moment to calm down. Say you need a break. It is the responsible thing to do.

                    EXTRA TIPS

                    1. Some parents can escalate and become quite violent. Walk away and now you need to be more cautious and resourceful. I would speak to other parents and see if it is happening to other children. 
                    2. What if nothing happens to the bully and they keep bullying? Call the police, call the school and ask other parents to come forward if they are experiencing the same thing with their children. A bully is usually bullying many kids, not just one. Talk to other parents by making it a priority to stay after school and chat with them or call a meeting if you don’t see them that often. Write an anonymous letter to their parents, teachers, and principal.
                    “Be prepared not scared. Cyberbullying is one of the number one contributing factors of children’s anxiety, depression, and ultimately suicide.” Larissa Mills

                    PARENT LEARNING TIPS

                    • What did you learn from this chapter?
                    • Preventing cyberbullying by educating your child and what to do if they see it starting

                    Here are the legalities you should teach your child.

                    • Criminal Harassment: this is common and will be visible on their phone.
                    • Child Pornography:  very dangerous and many charges ill be  laid. If your child is sent a nude photo, what do you do? Screenshot it and don’t send it on, ever. The person sending it to your child can be arrested for sex trafficking and more. Teach your child to be happy with their bodies and to protect it online. No face and body in a picture ever. There is a grey area here but these seem to be the essence from Police.
                    • Uttering Threats and Extortion, this also common and many children make threats, girls too.
                    • Assault
                    • Identify Theft and Fraud
                    • Defamatory Libel* A defamatory libel is matter published, without lawful justification or excuse, that is likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or that is designed to insult the person of or concerning whom it is published. As posted on, “Justice Laws Website.”

                    Phones are with children 85% of the time, 24-7 now and 83% of parents don’t check their children’s phones. Learn your child’s online persona to examine what apps they have, read their comments on SnapChat and Instagram. You will be shocked to see their friends' photos and who really aren’t their friends. I am still surprised when I check my children’s phones. They are kids, they will make mistakes, mostly in terms of what they write and how it will be interpreted. Teach them the quality of friendship and what is important, not the quantity of friends which they do right now on Instagram? We are their moral compass and must guide them.

                    If you need more information please read the, How to be a good Parent in the age of Technology?, e-book, $24.99. It includes thousands of tips covering such topics as:

                    • luring
                    • nude photo sharing
                    • online personas
                    • parent villages

                    Book your FREE 30 minute Consultation session online.

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